Thousands in Baghdad defy midnight curfew, take to streets

Thousands of Iraqis took to the streets of Baghdad after midnight despite a curfew as violence-ridden demonstrations that have resulted in the deaths of close to 80 people entered the fifth day.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Thousands of Iraqis took to the streets of Baghdad after midnight despite a curfew as violence-ridden demonstrations that have resulted in the deaths of close to 80 people entered the fifth day.

Social media photos from Tahrir Square and other parts of Baghdad showed large droves of people marching through the streets after midnight.

Earlier on Monday, Baghdad Operations Command issued a curfew which appears to have been broken along with others in several central and southern provinces.

Fresh protests began on Friday, quickly turning violent as they continued on Monday for the fourth day, reportedly resulting in the death of 74 individuals. Another bout of demonstrations earlier in the month went on for about a week, leaving at least 140 dead.

Iraqi security forces are alleged to have fired tear gas canisters at university students, videos posted on social media purported to show.

Later, on Monday, Iraq’s High Commission for Human Rights said five demonstrators had been killed in the capital of Baghdad that day, adding that there had also been close to 300 injured individuals. The death toll on Tuesday morning rose to at least 18 dead.

Demonstrators have been calling for an end to the economic woes of the people of Iraq—demands that have been repeatedly made during such protests.

As the unrest continued for the fourth day on Monday, thousands of students took to the streets to echo demands for improved governance of the country, which has been plagued with crippling corruption 16 years after the fall of the former Iraqi regime.

On that same day, senior Iraqi leader Muqtada al-Sadr called for early elections under the supervision of the United Nations. This came just two days after the powerful parliamentary alliance he leads announced it would be moving to the legislature’s opposition.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany