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Monday, 04 March 2024
Iraqi authorities release 2,500 detained during protests, prime minister says
A protester pours fuel on a tire to burn it as he blocks a street during ongoing anti-government protests in Najaf, Iraq November 27, 2019. (Reuters)

The Iraqi authorities announced the release of 2,500 detainees arrested during recent demonstrations, said Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi in a live speech at a parliament session. He also announced the Iraqi government has begun forming and training an Iraqi security force to maintain law and order.

Iraqi officials earlier said three protesters were killed and 35 wounded by security forces in southern Iraq amid ongoing violence.

Anti-government protesters have blocked roads connecting Diwaniya and Najaf, in the southern region of Iraq.

Security and hospital officials said Wednesday that two of the protesters were killed the previous night. That’s when security forces fired live ammunition to disperse crowds in the Karbala.

One protester died of wounds suffered when a tear gas canister struck him in clashes earlier Tuesday.

Meanwhile, schools have been temporarily shut down for two days due to security reasons in the Iraqi Muthana province, announced Muthana governor Mohammed Ali al-Hassani.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

Protesters have also cut off roads to block traffic from Karbala to the capital, Baghdad.

“We are moving in the parliament and the government to correct many political tracks,” said Abdul Mahdi. “We accept criticism and any adult government makes mistakes”

At least 350 people have been killed and thousands wounded since Iraq’s protests started Oct. 1. Thousands of people have taken to the streets to decry government corruption, poor services, and subpar jobs.