Sadr’s supporters open fire on protesters in Iraq

Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s supporters, also known as blue hats, on Monday allegedly opened fire on people protesting against the appointment of Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi as the country’s prime minister.

This came after al-Sadr had asked his supporters to help security forces clear the blocked roads.

Eyewitnesses told Anadolu Agency that the blue hats opened fire on protesters in Al-Najaf province, southern Iraq. They said that blue hats forcibly dispersed the protesters and reopened the blocked roads.

In another southern province of Dhi Qar, according to local media, the blue hats dispersed the protesters from government buildings and schools in coordination with security forces.

Meanwhile, the blue hats clashed with protesters in the central Babil province as latter refused to end their sit-in.

On Saturday, Iraqi President Barham Salih appointed Allawi as country’s prime minister, assigning him to form a government within a month.

Iraq has been roiled by mass protests since early October over poor living conditions and corruption, forcing Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi to resign.

More than 500 people have been killed and 17,000 injured in the protests, according to an Iraqi human rights commission.