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Iraq protests: Five killed as security forces shoot anti-government demonstrators

Iraq protests: Five killed as security forces shoot anti-government demonstrators
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By Daniel Bellamy with Reuters
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Police and medical reports suggest the number of people killed in recent days during protests against corruption and unemployment is at least 81.

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Five Iraqis died in renewed anti-government protests in Baghdad on Saturday, bringing the total killed in the recent nationwide violence to at least 81.

Officials said a protester was killed in the Zafaraniya neighbourhood in south Baghdad and 13 were wounded. In central Baghdad, four protesters were killed.

Saturday's protests came after the lifting of a two-day around-the-clock curfew.

Security forces responded with live ammunition and tear gas amid unprecedented popular anger, sparked by lack of jobs, and endemic corruption in the oil-rich country.

Iraq’s High Commission for Human Rights put the death toll even higher, at 94.

The current unrest is the deadliest Iraq has seen since the declared defeat of Islamic State in 2017 and it has shaken Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s year-old government.

In the southern city of Nassiriya, where at least 18 people were killed during the week, police fired live rounds at demonstrators, and protesters torched the headquarters of several political parties in the city, police said. These included the headquarters of the powerful Dawa party that dominated Iraq’s government from 2003 until 2018 elections.

Violence also broke out again in Diwaniya, another city south of Baghdad, police said.

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