After five days of deadly protests in Iraq, demonstrators stormed the Iranian consulate in the city of Basra on Friday. Other government buildings have been burglarized and set on fire in recent days. The protesters shouted angrily about Iran’s influence on Iraqi politics while they pillaged offices in the building. The consulate was empty when the demonstrators arrived, sources told Reuters. Ayatollah Ali Sistani, Iraq’s most important Shi’ite cleric, said Thursday that a new government should form that is “different from its predecessors” and that violence against protesters should stop. Since Monday, 10 protesters have died in Basra, many while confronting security. The national security team of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi was investigating the deaths Friday. Al-Abadi also said he would release funds earmarked for public programs in Basra.
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