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2 protesters killed, 25 injured in Baghdad unrest



Clashes with security forces in Baghdad, an epicentre of weeks-long protests against the Iraqi government on Friday has left two protesters dead and 25 others injured.

The violence has intensified between both sides since Thursday near al-Ahrar Bridge in central Baghdad.

Security forces fired tear gas canisters to disperse the protesters, who are blocking the key bridge, a witness said.

Protests have raged in Iraq since early October, with demonstrators calling for the resignation of the government, the dissolution of parliament and an overhaul of the country’s political system, which has been in place since the 2003 U.S. led invasion of the country.

Around 330 people, mostly protesters, have died in the demonstrations, mainly in Baghdad and the oil-rich south, according to the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights, a semi-official watchdog.

Several rights groups have accused the Iraqi security forces of using excessive violence to quell the protests. The government has blamed the violence on unidentified outlaws.

Earlier Iraq’s most influential Shiite cleric Ali al-Sistani called in a mosque sermon for expediting electoral reforms and meeting the protesters’ demands to end what he called the country’s big crisis.

The protests are Iraq’s largest since December 2017 when Baghdad declared the liberation of all territory previously under the control of Islamic State militants.

Edited By: Hadiza Mohammed/Donald Ugwu

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