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Over 300 dead, 15000 injured in Iraq protests

News Agencies | Updated on: 11 November 2019, 9:16 IST

At least 319 people have been killed in Iraq since the beginning of the anti-government protests last month, the Iraqi Parliamentary Human Rights Committee said in a report.

Four protesters were killed in Baghdad on Saturday after Iraqi Security Forces pushed back hundreds of protesters and burnt several tents that were being used for an overnight sit-in, a few activists were quoted as saying by Al Jazeera.

Teargas and live ammunition were used by Iraqi security forces in the al Khalani commercial area, about one kilometre from Tahrir square -- Iraq's ground zero for demonstrations.

According to the Independent High Commission for Human Rights of Iraq, nearly 15,000 have also been injured.

The higher death toll also includes two people who were killed Friday in the southern city of Basra during violent protests, the IHCR said in a statement. Basra is an oil-rich city located some 450 kilometres (280 miles) south of Iraq's capital Baghdad.

At least 23 students were also injured in Nasiriyah Sunday after a tear gas cannon from Iraqi forces mistakenly went off inside a nearby intermediate school for girls, witnesses told CNN.

The condition of the students was not immediately clear, however, authorities have not officially commented on the incident so far.

Protests have erupted in Baghdad and in several Shiite provinces of the country over unemployment, government corruption and the lack of basic services -- such as electricity and clean water.

Many Iraqis blame the current political parties in power for their economic hardship and the scale of the protests, believed to be the biggest since the fall of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in 2003, took the government by surprise.

Following the deadly response from Iraqi security forces, demonstrators are calling for early elections and demanding that the government step down.

Amid Saturday's violent protests, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi said that his government will make "significant ministerial amendments," and that the young generation of Iraqis is leading a movement that "shakes the entire country."

The prime minister has agreed to resign on October 31 after weeks of anti-government protests.


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First published: 11 November 2019, 9:16 IST