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Iraq UN calls for an end to the senseless loss of life

The UN has appealed for an end to the senseless loss of life in Iraq as the death toll from anti-government demonstrations approaches one hundred

Campaigners say they are taking a stand against joblessness, poor public essential services and dishonesty in the nation.

Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, leader of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq, said: "Five days of deaths and injuries have to cease.

Those guilty of the loss of life should be brought to justice. She said.

On Saturday, security forces broke up a mass rally in the east of Baghdad.

Five citizens are said to have perished in the latest clashes in the capital. Security forces are again reported to have used live rounds and tear gas.

At least 99 people have perished, and nearly 4,000 have been wounded since protests began in the capital on Tuesday before spreading to the south of Iraq, the Iraqi parliament's human rights commission says.

It is the deadliest unrest since the so-called Islamic State (IS) group was declared defeated in Iraq in 2017.

It is seen as the earliest major test to Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi's fragile government, nearly a year since he came to power.

The authorities have been trying to control the protests through curfews and a near-total internet blackout.

What's the latest?

The daytime curfew in Baghdad was lifted on Saturday, and smaller groups of protesters began to renew their action.

The city's Tahrir Square has been the focal point of protests, but it was blocked on Saturday, according to local news agencies.

An emergency session of parliament failed to go ahead on Saturday afternoon.

Several television stations were attacked, including the offices of the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya news channel.

In Nasiriyah, demonstrators set fire to the headquarters of six different political parties.

According to AFP news agency, thousands also descended on the governorate in the southern city of Diwaniyah.

The demonstrators do not appear to have any clear leadership at the moment, and their anger is increasingly radicalising their demands.

Why are they demonstrating? Most people now living in Iraq face on a daily frequency, corruption, unemployment and poor public services and until this is rectified we can expect these demonstrations to continue and will if not left unchecked turn into the same violence which was seen in the Arab uprising back in 2011

Steve Simmonds


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