IQNA

9:07 - February 28, 2021
News ID: 3474106
TEHRAN (IQNA) – The planned visit to Iraq by Pope Francis is in doubt after clashes between demonstrators and security forces in the southern Iraqi city of Nassiriya.

 

At least five protesters were killed and more than 175 people injured in clashes on Friday sources said.

The clashes continued on Friday evening after a week of violence that erupted on Sunday when security forces fired to disperse protesters, who were trying to storm the provincial government building using rocks and Molotov cocktails.

Protesters demand the removal of the governor and justice for protesters killed since 2019.

The clashes come just a week before the head of the Catholic Church plans to visit Iraq from March 5 to 8.

Pope Francis is due to tour the ancient Mesopotamian site of Ur, only a few kilometers away from the clashes.

Back in January the Pope had said he is not sure if his trip to Iraq in March can take place because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But later it was reported that the 84-year-old pontiff, who has been vaccinated against COVID-19, intends to go ahead with the trip despite the pandemic and lingering security concerns.

As well as meeting with Iraq’s religious and political leaders, Francis is due to preside over an interfaith meeting in Ur, the birthplace of Prophet Ibraheem (Abraham).

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has said that the Pope’s visit will spread the spirit of brotherhood in Iraq and the region.

 

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Tags: Iraq ، Pope ، visit ، Nassiriya
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