Iraqi police open fire on demonstrators in central Baghdad

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BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraqi police opened fire on protesters in central Baghdad on Friday as hundreds gathered to demonstrate against the government, wounding at least one person seriously.

Police snipers took up positions on rooftops and fired individual shots at protesters as they gathered, wounding one of them in the neck, Reuters quoted a witness as saying.
Earlier in the day, Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, on Friday called on security forces and protesters not to use force and criticized Iraq's leaders for failing to stamp out corruption and singled out parliamentarians.

Sistani, in his Friday sermon delivered by his representative Ahmed al-Safi in the city of Karbala, said the unrest "left dozens of victims and large numbers of wounded and injured and a lot of damage to government institutions and others, in painful and very regrettable scenes."

He added that the government and political forces have not responded to the demands of the people in the fight against corruption or achieve anything on the ground.

He continued: "The House of Representatives, with its legislative and regulatory powers bear the greatest responsibility in this area."

The channel "Alsumaria News" from the reference to say that "the attacks on peaceful demonstrators and security forces are rejected and condemned."

He continued: "The government should stay away in favoritism file government appointments," pointing out that the reference calls on the three authorities to take steps on the road to real reform.

He added: "The judiciary and regulatory bodies bear a major responsibility in the prosecution of corruption, but did not do their duty," declaring that the government should fulfill its duties to alleviate the suffering of citizens.

He continued: "Previously suggested the establishment of a reference committee of known names from outside the power to determine steps to combat corruption."

He pointed out that the reference proposal has not been adopted by government agencies. Declaring that "the House of Representatives bears the greatest responsibility of reform."



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