nti-government protesters have burned down the Iranian consulate in southern Iraq, while six protesters were killed by security forces who fired live rounds amid ongoing violence in the country.Security forces have fired bullets, teargas and smoke bombs on a near daily basis since the unrest began. At least 350 people have been killed and thousands wounded in what has become the largest grassroots protest movement in Iraq’s modern history.
Protesters torched the Iranian consulate in the holy city of Najaf late on Wednesday. One protester was killed and at least 35 people were wounded when police fired live ammunition to prevent them from entering the building, a police official said.
The demonstrators removed the Iranian flag from the building and replaced it with an Iraqi one. Iranian staff were not harmed and escaped the building from the back door and authorities imposed a curfew in Najaf.
The incident marked an escalation in the demonstrations that have raged in Baghdad and across the mostly Shiite southern Iraq since the start of October. The protesters accuse the Shiite-led government of being hopelessly corrupt and complain of poor public services and high unemployment. They are also decrying growing Iranian influence in Iraqi state affairs.