Nine Killed and Hundreds Injured in Protests in Iraq
Nine people were killed and hundreds injured in protests in Iraq over the past two days, world agencies have reported.
Thousands of Iraqis protested yesterday for the second consecutive day against corruption, unemployment and poor quality of public services, according to France's press.
A total of eight protesters and one police officer were shot dead in Baghdad and Nasiriyah, south of the capital, authorities said. They did not specify who fired.
The Associated Press reported that police used ammunition and tear gas against protesters.
Two people were killed and more than 200 injured on Tuesday. Yesterday's protests with economic demands escalated despite the government's attempt to contain them with a massive presence of street security officials. Seven were killed and hundreds were injured.
In Baghdad, authorities closed the Green Zone, which opened for traffic in June, which houses Iraq's main institutions and the US embassy.
Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi's government, which took office nearly a year ago, appears to have taken a firm approach in its first protest test. However, this did not discourage the demonstrators who gathered last night in Baghdad and several southern cities.
3,000 people protested in a major city in southern Iraq, Basra. Authorities last night called a police force in three southern cities - Nasiriyah, Amarah and Hillah, police sources said, according to Reuters.
In Nasiriyah, there were skirmishes between police and protesters. Police have lost control of the situation, necessitating the deployment of soldiers from elite counterterrorism units.
Anti-terrorist forces were also deployed at Baghdad airport. They used ammunition and tear gas against protesters to prevent them from entering the airport.
Prime Minister Mahdi has announced that curfew is also being introduced in the capital Baghdad, Reuters reported. The measure will take effect at 5am (Bulgarian time) this morning and will remain in force until a new order is issued. A total ban on the movement of cars and people in Baghdad has been imposed.
The Iraqi prime minister said the introduction of curfews in individual provinces would depend on their governors.
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