Oct 6, 2019

At least 104 Iraqis killed, 6,000 injured in week of unrest

An Iraqi demonstrator.

An Iraqi demonstrator. Photo by Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images

At least 104 Iraqis have been killed and more than 6,000 have been wounded in less than a week of political unrest, Interior Ministry spokesperson Maj. Gen. Saad Maan said on state TV on Sunday, according to Reuters.

Why it matters: Protesters have been demonstrating against governmental corruption, unemployment and a lack of basic services, and they have called on Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi to step down. The government has responded by restricting access to the internet, imposing a curfew and deploying security forces that have fired on demonstrators.

Details: Maan said 8 members of the Iraqi security forces were among those killed and 51 public buildings and 8 political party headquarters had been torched by protesters, per Reuters.

  • At least 18 people were killed in clashes in Baghdad between police and anti-government protestors on Saturday night. Iraqi security forces first opened fire on protesters on Oct. 3.

Context: Iraq currently has a 25% youth unemployment rate, despite the government’s increased oil revenues and an end to the war against the Islamic State.

  • Demonstrators believe that not enough money is being invested in jobs programs or improving services.

The big picture: Iraq's parliament is at risk of collapsing. The leaders of 2 large political parties have criticized the government and called for reform. One leader called for his bloc to stop participating in parliament and for the government to resign.

Go deeper ... NYT: Deaths mount as protests catch Iraqi government off guard

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