Across Iraq, protests against government corruption and dysfunction continue with no signs of slowing down. Over 100 people are believed to have been killed amidst escalating violence.
The death toll of anti-government protests has risen to 100, amid their expansion in Baghdad and the central and southern governorates since 25 October.
The protests, which started on Friday, caused the death of more than 100 people and the injury of 5,500 others among demonstrators and security officers, according to the Iraqi Human Rights Commission (official body affiliated to the parliament) in a statement issued late Wednesday.
The Commission pointed out that security forces arrested 399 people during the protests, 343 of whom have been so far released, while 98 public and private buildings were damaged.
Although violence has declined over the past two days, central Baghdad has been witnessing intense confrontations between demonstrators and security forces.
At least one demonstrator was killed, and dozens of others were injured as security forces fired tear gas and stun grenades at demonstrators trying to cross checkpoints on Al-Jumariyah Bridge to reach the Green Zone, which contains buildings of government officials and foreign diplomatic missions.
Meanwhile, thousands have continued to demonstrate in public squares in the central and southern governorates of Wasit, Muthanna, Basra, Maysan, Dhi Qar, Babylon, Al-Diwaniyah, Najaf and Karbala.
More demonstrators are going out to the protest squares, amid a significant decline in government repression.
Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission revealed in a statement “the increasing number of demonstrators in Baghdad and the governorates, and the participation of many unions, associations, organisations, universities, schools, state institutions and Iraqi families.”
The Commission indicated that “the great cooperation between the demonstrators and the security forces in some governorates has reflected the peaceful demonstrations during the past two days.”
Pressure on the government
The expansion of the protests coincides with growing demand from political forces on Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi to resign.
In the same context, Al-Sadr movement leader Muqtada Al-Sadr, former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi and former Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi have warned against the continuation of the current government.
The continuation of the current government may turn the fate of Iraq similar to what is happening in Syria and Yemen, said Al-Sadr in a statement.