73 killed in anti-government protests in Iraq

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No fewer than 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.

At least six policemen are among those killed, a member of the High Commission for Human Rights, Ali al-Bayati, told dpa.

Since Tuesday, thousands have taken to the streets in Iraq’s capital, Baghdad, and several provinces to protest against corruption, lack of job opportunities and poor services – in particular access to electricity and clean water.

Protests were met with tear gas and gunshots from security forces, followed by a 24-hour curfew in the capital and other provinces.

The protests, which have been largely led by young people, come one year after Prime Minister Adel Abdel-Mahdi took office, posing a new challenge to the country, which is still grappling with a lengthy campaign against the Islamic State extremist group.