At least 4 people killed as Iraq anti-government protests escalate

Protests in Iraq. [Photo: Internet]
At least three protesters and one policeman have been killed in Iraq’s southern city of Nasiriya, according to a monitoring group, after nationwide anti-government protests devolved into violence that saw security forces fire live rounds and tear gas for a second straight day. 

Wednesday’s unrest came a day after at least two protesters – one in the capital, Baghdad, and one in Nasiriya – were killed and hundreds of people were wounded in clashes between police and protesters angry at  unemployment, corruption and poor public services.

News agencies quoted medical and security sources as saying that the death toll over the past two days stood at nine. The figure could not be independently verified.

Later on Wednesday, authorities deployed counter-terrorism troops in Nasiriya after police “lost control” when gun battles erupted between protesters and security forces, police sources told Reuters news agency. Curfews were later imposed in Nasiriya and two other southern cities, Amara and Hilla, they added.

Meanwhile, internet blockage observatory NetBlocks said online coverage had been cut off across much of the country, including Baghdad, with connectivity falling below 70 percent.

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