Mourners carry the coffin of a protester, who was killed in Tuesday's demonstrations in Baghdad, during a funeral in Najaf.
Mourners carry the coffin of a protester, who was killed in Tuesday's demonstrations in Baghdad, during a funeral in Najaf.

Anti-govt protests in Iraq leaves 2 dead, hundreds injured; UN calls for restraint

ANI | Updated: Oct 02, 2019 18:37 IST

Baghdad [Iraq], Oct 2 (ANI): At least two people were killed and hundreds of other protesters sustained injuries when security forces fired bullets and tear gas at the crowd gathered for anti-government demonstrations here on Tuesday (local time), authorities said.
The protests, which marked the largest to date against Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi's fragile government, were organised to decry a host of problems that plague the daily life of many Iraqis, among them corruption, a lack of services and unemployment, The Washington Post reported.
About 1,000 protesters had marched into a central square in Baghdad amid a heavy police presence. Tear gas was fired when the crowd moved on toward the heavily fortified Green Zone.
In a statement, the country's Interior Ministry said it "regretted" the day's violence and blamed "a group of rioters" for inciting it.
Iraq's Health Ministry said two people were killed and 286 were wounded nationwide, among them 40 members of the security forces.
Protests were also reported in the cities of Nasiriyah, Diwaniyah, and Basra.
Many of the protesters in Baghdad held photographs of one of the country's most famous war heroes, Lt Gen Abdulwahab al-Saadi, a former head of Iraq's counterterrorism force who led the fight to defeat the Islamic State.
Saadi's removal from his post last week followed weeks of speculation that militia groups loyal to neighboring Iran had pushed for his departure.
"You are the one who liberated Mosul," the crowds chanted, in reference to the punishing battle to free one of Iraq's largest cities from the militants.
The United Nations on Wednesday called for restraint after violent anti-government protests gripped the Iraqi capital and other provinces of the Middle East country.
"The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert calls for calm, and deeply regrets the casualties among both the protesters and security forces," the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) said in a statement cited by Xinhua news agency.
Hennis-Plasschaert also urged the Iraqi authorities to "exercise restraint in their handling of the protests to ensure the safety of peaceful protesters while upholding law and order and protecting the people, public and private property."
"Every individual has the right to speak freely, in keeping with the law," Hennis-Plasschaert said.
Although Iraq is experiencing a period of relative stability since the Islamic State's formal defeat here in 2017, protesters said they saw few improvements in the governance that still shapes their everyday lives. (ANI)

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