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24 killed in anti-government protests in Iraq, over 2,000 injured

“Most of the casualties occurred as a result of gunshot wounds, tear gas and rubber bullets,” the statement further said.

SNS | New Delhi |

At least 24 people were killed and more than thousands injured after nationwide protests over unemployment, corruption and lack of public services erupted in Iraq, the Iraqi authorities said on Friday.

According to a statement by the Iraqi Independent High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR), the 24 protesters were dead by either tear gas suffocation or live bullets used by the guards protecting the headquarters of the provincial governments and the offices of the political parties, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Eight protesters killed in the capital Baghdad, six in Maysan Province, six in Dhi Qar Province and four in the provinces of Basra and Muthanna, the parliament-affiliated commission said.

The number of the wounded rose to 2,047, including both the demonstrators and security forces, mostly in Baghdad.

“Most of the casualties occurred as a result of gunshot wounds, tear gas and rubber bullets,” the statement further said.

Early on Friday, hundreds of protesters rallied in the square on the eastern side of the Tigris River and tried to cross the nearby al-Jumhouriyah Bridge to reach the Green Zone, the administrative centre of the Iraqi government.

The repeated attempts to cross the bridge pushed the security forces to completely close it with three-meter high concrete blocks.

Earlier, an IHCHR statement said that the demonstrators in Wasit Province burned the Islamic Dawa Party  headquarters and stormed the house of the governor in the province, while in the southern province of Dhi Qar, protesters burned the provincial government building.

The demonstrations came after Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, while giving a speech on television, warned of chaos if the government resigns, and promised a cabinet reshuffle, more job opportunities and the establishment of a court to prosecute corrupt officials.

Earlier this month, massive protests broke out in Baghdad and other central and southern provinces over similar reasons that left 157 people dead, including security forces.

(With inputs from agency)