Iraq protests: Death toll soars after four days of protests

Iraq protests: Death toll soars after four days of protests

The death toll in anti-government protests that have swept Iraq the past five days has soared to at least 70, security and medical sources say. The figure has more than doubled since Friday, as clashes between protesters and police intensified.

The military said “unidentified snipers” had killed four people in Baghdad, including two police officers.

However the authorities lifted a daytime curfew in the capital early on Saturday.

Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi earlier said protesters’ “legitimate demands” had been heard, but appealed for calm.

Spontaneous protests erupted on Tuesday amid frustration over Iraq’s high youth unemployment rate, its dire public services and chronic corruption.

It is seen as the first major challenge to Mr Mahdi’s fragile government, nearly a year since he came to power.

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