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Nasiriyah tensions ease as pope heads to Iraq

Iraq's Nasiriyah has been the scene of violent protests recently, but calm has settled over the city with the prime minister's efforts to calm it.
Protesters are pictured in a square as smoke billows following clashes between Iraqi police forces and anti-government protesters in Nasiriyah in southern Iraq on January 10, 2021. - A policeman was killed today in Iraq, the army said, as security forces fired to disperse a third consecutive day of protests in the city of Nasiriyah, according to medics. (Photo by Asaad NIAZI / AFP) (Photo by ASAAD NIAZI/AFP via Getty Images)

Iraq’s southern city of Nasiriyah — recently the site of large anti-government protests — has largely escaped the attention of the international media, but that is about to change. The visit later this week by Pope Francis to the place revered as the birthplace of Abraham, just outside the city limits at the site of the ancient city of Ur, is likely to attract worldwide attention.

Last week, protests again engulfed Nasiriyah with tragic consequences, as five protesters were killed and dozens injured. Demonstrations against poor public services and corruption have rocked the city intermittently since October 2019. 

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