20 October 2019
English Arabic

Anti-Government Protests Continue in Iraq

Wednesday, 02 October 2019 20:02
Anti-government protesters set fires and block roads while security forces fire tear gas during a protest in Baghdad, Iraq, Oct. 2, 2019. Anti-government protesters set fires and block roads while security forces fire tear gas during a protest in Baghdad, Iraq, Oct. 2, 2019.

At least one person was reported dead Wednesday as Iraqi police used live ammunition and tear gas to try to disperse anti-government protesters who took to the streets for a second day in Baghdad.

Demonstrators have filled streets around the Iraqi capital since Tuesday to protest high unemployment and poor government services.  The protests started in peacefully Tuesday in Baghdad's Tahrir Square peacefully but turned violent after security forces were deployed with water cannons, tear gas and live ammunition.  At least two people were killed on Tuesday.

The demonstrations, which also spread to other parts of the country, are the first major challenge to Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi, who formed his government a year ago.

The government blamed the violence on "groups of riot inciters" and said security forces worked to protect the safety of peaceful protesters.

Iraq's parliament has ordered a probe into the violence.

Many Iraqi citizens blame politicians and government officials for the corruption that has prevented the country from rebounding from years of sectarian violence and a devastating war to defeat Islamic State.

At his weekly Cabinet meeting the Iraqi' prime minister released a statement promising jobs for graduates. He also ordered the oil ministry and other government agencies to apply a 50 percent quota for local workers in future contracts with foreign countries.

Source: VOA

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