On December 3rd, Iraqi protesters set the Iranian consulate in Najaf on fire for the third time in a week. Protesters in the holy city of Najaf burned tires and hurled them toward the main gate of the Iranian consulate. The building was empty at the time of the attack and there were no casualties, according to a police official.
The incident came after hours of tense standoff with security forces earlier Tuesday when protesters surrounded a key shrine in Najaf. Tens of demonstrators gathered around the Hakim shrine, demanding that Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr help them enter and symbolically take control.
Najaf has been one of the flashpoints in the protest movement, after demonstrators torched the Iranian Consulate there on November 27th and again on December 1st.
The following footage is from the fire on November 27th:
Iraqi President Barham Salih met with Iraq’s main political blocs as a 15-day constitutional deadline to name the next prime minister nears, two Iraqi officials said.
Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Madi announced his resignation on November 29th. The Sairoon bloc, led by Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, addressed Salih in a letter and said they gave protesters the right to support a premier of their choice.
At least 400 people have died since the leaderless uprising shook Iraq on October 1st, with thousands of Iraqis taking to the streets in Baghdad and the predominantly Shiite southern Iraq decrying corruption, poor services, lack of jobs and calling for an end to the political system that was imposed after the 2003 U.S. invasion. Anger has been also focused at the Iranian consulates both in Najaf, as well as in the holy city of Karbala.
In a concession to protesters in November, a governmental anti-corruption body, the Higher Council for Corruption Combat, ordered the dismissal of 1,000 employees at state institutions who had been convicted of wasting or embezzling public money, according to the official INA news agency.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi also pledged to try and pass a law granting a basic income to poor families, while admitting that there was no “magic solution” to the graft and poor governance rampant in the country.
In an address to the U.N. Security Council on December 3rd, United Nations envoy to Iraq Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert condemned the continued use of live ammunition and “non-lethal devices” like tear gas that have caused “horrific injuries or death.”
The U.N. envoy also questioned the status of the government’s earlier investigations into the use of live fire and other violence, noting that though arrest warrants had been issued, perpetrators had not been brought to account.
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