Iraq seeks arrest of ‘assaulters’ amid protests

BAGHDAD

Iraq’s Interior Ministry on Saturday issued arrest warrants for protesters involved in attacks on government buildings and property during protests that rocked several provinces a day earlier. 

In a statement, ministry spokesman Khalid al-Mahna said numerous assaults on government buildings, schools and party premises were reported during Friday’s protests.

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in the capital Baghdad and southern provinces on Friday against perceived government corruption, unemployment and lack of basic services.

At least 31 people were killed and more than 2,300 others injured during the demonstrations, according to Iraq’s High Commission for Human Rights.

The Interior Ministry earlier said that a number of security personnel were killed and injured when security forces came under attack with firearms and stones during Friday’s rallies, but without giving an exact number of casualties.

Discontent has been growing in Iraq in recent years due to rising unemployment rates and rampant corruption. Many in the country have limited access to basic services such as electricity and clean water.

According to the World Bank figures, Iraq has a high rate of youth unemployment around 25%. It is also ranked as the 12th most-corrupt country in the world by several transparency organizations.
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