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Iraq's communists call for detainees to be released immediately

IRAQ’S Communist Party called today for the United Nations and other international organisations to press the country’s authorities to end violence against citizens in the continuing protests and to release those held in anti-government demonstrations.

It said that peaceful demonstrators in Baghdad and in other provinces have faced widespread attacks and repression “including the use of live and rubber bullets, severe beatings, the use of tear gas and hot-water cannons, pursuit, mass arrests and forcibly extracting pledges not to take part in protests.”

According to the Iraqi Independent High Commission for Human Rights, more than 100 people have been killed, 3,978 wounded and 567 detained in a week of bloodshed.

Protests started over the country’s deepening economic crisis, with Iraqis taking to the streets to demand jobs and an end to government-led austerity.

Yesterday the armed forces admitted for the first time that it had acted disproportionately after troops opened fire with live rounds on hundreds of peaceful protesters.

The Communist Party has called for the government to resign and its replacement with an interim administration ahead of fresh elections.

The party is part of the Sairoon Alliance, an electoral coalition with Moqtadr al-Sadr’s Islamist Sadrist Integrity Party, which finished top in last May’s general election.

But the coalition failed to form a coalition and, after months of wrangling, Adil Abdul-Mahdi al-Muntafiki was appointed prime minister in October 2018.

During the protests at least four members of the Iraqi Communist Party have been killed, 13 detained and many more injured.

A statement said: “We call on the United Nations, human rights organisations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to press the Iraqi authorities to stop the repression of demonstrators, to end the use of violence against them, stop chasing the protesters and release the detainees immediately.”

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