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The death toll has surged to 73 in Iraq's week-long protests over poverty and government corruption

The death toll has surged to 73 in Iraq's week-long protests over poverty and government corruption
By Euronews
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The Iraqi High Commission For Human Rights revealed that the death toll increased to 73 and 3,000 more people have been injured since Tuesday when protests began.


The death toll from days of anti-government protests in Iraq has risen to 73, according to the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR).

It comes as authorities lifted a days-long curfew in the capital Baghdad on Saturday, which demonstrators had defied.

Shoppers trickled back onto the streets on Saturday morning to buy vegetables and other perishable goods which have doubled in price since the start of the unrest.

Many government officials are widely accused of siphoning off public money and unfairly awarding contracts in state institutions.

Police snipers shot at protesters on Friday, Reuters reporters said, escalating violent tactics used by the security forces that have included live fire, tear gas and water cannons.

The violence has seen 73 deaths, 3,000 people injured and 540 arrests, according to IHCHR.

One of Iraq's opposition leaders, Moqtada al-Sadr, called for the government to resign as violence surged during protests against poverty and corruption.

Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi called for calm and pledged reforms but said there was no "magic solution" to Iraq's problems. The politician came to power last year as a compromise candidate backed by Shi'ite groups.

Moqtada al-Sadr, a politician with a mass popular following and leader of Iraq's largest opposition bloc in parliament, instructed his lawmakers to suspend participation in the legislature until the government introduced a host of reforms.

Iraq's most influential cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said he was sorrowful for the deaths and casualties in a letter read out by his representative during a sermon:

“The government and political sides have not answered the demands of the people to fight corruption or achieved anything on the ground,” said Sistani, who stays out of day-to-day politics but whose word is the law for Iraq’s Shi’ites. 

“Parliament holds the biggest responsibility for what is happening.”

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