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5 killed as clashes erupt again in Iraq

At least, 73 people have been killed, majority of whom are civilians, and more than 3,000 wounded since anti-government protests erupted in Iraq, an independent rights group said on Saturday

Police snipers shot at demonstrators on Saturday killing five people and several others wounded in a resumption of anti-government unrest in Eastern Baghdad.

The security forces have however deployed in their hundreds to keep demonstrations away from central squares in the Iraqi capital

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Police and medical sources reported the casualties after days of violence around anti-government protests that killed no fewer than 81 people in Baghdad and other cities earlier this week.

Iraq’s semi-official High Commission for Human Rights put the toll at 94 dead, meanwhile Reuters could not verify its figures.

“Police snipers shot at demonstrators and several people were wounded in eastern Baghdad,’’ Reuters reporters said.

Police also fired live rounds at demonstrators in the southern city of Nassiriya, where no fewer than 18 people were killed during the week.

The new clashes shattered a day of relative calm after authorities lifted a curfew and traffic moved normally in the centre of the city.

One square where protesters had gathered in their hundreds in previous was packed with hundreds of policemen and other security personnel.

The unrest is the deadliest Iraq has seen since the declared defeat of Islamic State in 2017 and has shaken Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s year-old government.

The government has responded with vague reform promises that are unlikely to placate Iraqis.

Iraqi state television meanwhile broadcast live footage of a meeting between the parliament speaker and what it said were protest leaders.

The speaker on Friday proposed improving public housing for the poor and job opportunities for young people, as well as holding those who had killed protesters to account. (Reuters/NAN)

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