Iraq: Curfew declared in capital Baghdad amid protests

A curfew was declared in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on Monday amid ongoing anti-government protests.

The military’s Baghdad Operations Command said in a written statement that the curfew will be imposed from midnight till 6 a.m. local time (0300GMT) until further notice.

No information was given on when the curfew would be lifted.

Following the announcement, thousands of people took to the streets in Baghdad to protest the curfew.

Protestors holding Iraqi flags gathered at Tahrir Square where they chanted slogans, including: “You can’t keep us at home.”

Security forces used tear gas and sound bombs to disperse the crowd. 

At least 81 people have been killed and more than 3,600 others injured since a second wave of protests began on Friday, according to human rights groups.

The first wave of protests in early October left 149 protesters and eight security personnel dead.

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

According to World Bank figures, Iraq’s youth unemployment is around 25%. It is also ranked the 12th most-corrupt country in the world by several transparency organizations. 

*Writing by Mahmoud Barakat

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