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Renewed violence against Iraq protesters as TV station suspended

AFP
Baghdad
Two Iraqis were killed and dozens wounded in protest-related violence on Tuesday, as authorities suspended a television station which has broadcast intensive coverage of the months-long movement demanding regime change.
The youth-led campaign has pressed on despite violence that has killed more than 480 people, a vast majority of them protesters, since rallies erupted in Baghdad and Shiite-majority southern Iraq on October 1.
Demanding snap elections, an independent prime minister and accountability for long-standing corruption and bloodshed, youths have occupied squares, blockaded streets and boycotted university classes for nearly four months.
Security forces have responded with live rounds and tear gas, and on Tuesday one protester was shot dead in clashes with riot police in the southern protest hotspot of Kut, according to medical and security sources. Further north in the capital, a professor at the famed Mustansariyah University was shot dead early on Tuesday while driving in his car, medics and police said.
Mohammad Alwan was known to have been protesting in Tahrir Square, a plaza in central Baghdad which demonstrators have transformed into an anti-government tent city.
Activists have long complained that a campaign of kidnappings and drive-by shootings has aimed to intimidate them into calling off the protests. Near Tahrir on Tuesday, protesters carrying makeshift shield tried to seal off roads and threw rocks at riot police firing tear gas and live rounds.
Other rallies and skirmishes rocked the port city of Basra in the south, as well as Amarah, Hillah and Nasiriyah.
“We came out today and we’ll protest every day to support these protests, which are a historic challenge,” said Ajwad Ali, a university-age protester in Nasiriyah.
Iraqi authorities this week suspended Al-Dijla television station for a month, media and police sources said on Tuesday.
“Interior ministry forces fully shut down Al-Dijla’s offices in Baghdad last night and respectfully asked the staff to leave,” a source from the broadcaster told AFP.