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An injured protestor is rushed to a hospital during a demonstration in central Baghdad. Khalid Mohammed/PA

Dozens of people killed during anti-government protests in Iraq

Nearly 200 people have died and thousands have been wounded since the rallies first began earlier this mont.

IRAQI SECURITY FORCES are attempting to clamp down on anti-government rallies in Baghdad and across the south after the death of 42 protesters yesterday.

A parliamentary session scheduled for this afternoon to discuss the renewed protests was cancelled after it failed to reach a quorum.

Since anti-government rallies first erupted on 1 October, nearly 200 people have died and thousands were wounded in Baghdad and across the country’s Shiite-majority south in violence condemned worldwide.

Almost a quarter of them, 42, succumbed yesterday alone from live rounds, tear gas canisters or while torching government buildings or offices belonging to powerful Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary factions in several southern cities.

DPA / PA Images DPA / PA Images / PA Images

Tensions remain high across several cities, with security forces cutting off roads and imposing strict curfews.

The storming of provincial headquarters, parliamentarians’ workspaces or Hashed offices marks a new phase in the southern rallies but there have been no such incidents so far in the capital.

AP / PA Images AP / PA Images / PA Images

In Baghdad, a few hundred protesters dug in around the emblematic Tahrir (Liberation) Square this morning despite efforts by riot police to clear them with tear gas.

“It’s enough –theft, looting, gangs, mafias, deep state, whatever. Get out! Let us see a (functioning) state,” said one protester, referring to perceived cronyism and corruption in the country.

“We don’t want anything, just let us live,” he added as puffs of smoke from tear gas rose behind him.

iraq-protests Anti-government protesters try to sneak past as security forces close the bridge leading to the Green Zone during a demonstration in Baghdad. AP / PA Images AP / PA Images / PA Images

Oil-rich Iraq is OPEC’s second-highest producer – but one in five people live below the poverty line and youth unemployment sits at 25%, according to the World Bank.

The staggering rates of joblessness and allegations of corruption sparked the widespread protests on 1 October and the government has struggled to quell public anger by proposing reforms.

- © AFP 2019

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