Iraqi Protesters Bring Out Lions To Counter Police Dogs

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An Iraqi protester has been filmed with a lion on a chain, during an anti-government demonstration.

The giant cat is seen wearing a collar and what appears to be an Iraqi flag over its back in the bizarre clip which was likely filmed during recent clashes in the capital Bagdad.

Some commenters say they believe the lion was deployed to ward off police dogs used by security forces to keep demonstrations in check.

At one point the lion takes a swipe at a small group of men and then is seen resting by the road as the handler, dressed in a red t-shirt and black jeans, sits down beside him.

Violent protests have erupted in Baghdad since early October driven by discontent over economic hardship and corruption.

Around 320 people have died so far as demonstrators have clashed with security forces.

Iraqi security forces killed at least four people on Thursday and wounded more than 50 as they tried to push protesters further back to their main camp in central Baghdad, police and medical sources said.

On Thursday morning, three protesters died after tear gas canisters directly struck them in the head and another died in hospital from wounds from a stun bomb fired by security forces, the sources said.

Security forces increased use of tear gas, rubber bullets and live fire came after two days of relative calm