Iraqi protesters gather in key squares to keep up pressure on cabinet


Iraqi protesters gathered in main squares across different provinces on Friday, as demonstrators continue to pressure the government and parliament to meet their demands.

Since Thursday evening, protesters have been heading to squares in the capital Baghdad and other provinces including Basra, Karbala and Najaf. Clashes between protesters and security forces since Thursday in Baghdad and Basra have killed six protesters and left more than 100 injured, demonstrators told journalists.

Unrest began since early October when protesters took to the streets denouncing corruption, lack of jobs and poor access to electricity and clean water. Security used force to disperse the crowds and clashes since then have left more than 260 killed and thousands injured.

The demonstrators are calling for the resignation of the government, the dissolution of parliament and an overhaul of the country's political system that has been in place since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.

Friday's protests come a day ahead of a parliamentary session where lawmakers are expected to discuss repercussions of the ongoing protests and Prime Minister Adel-Abdel Mahdi is scheduled to make an address.

Earlier this week, the army said anti-government protests have caused losses of more than 6 billion dollars, especially due to the closure of the major port of Umm Qasr, as it was blocked by protesters for around a week. The port in Basra province was open on Friday.

The protests are the country's largest since December 2017, when Iraq declared the liberation of all territory previously under Islamic State militants' control.    (dpa)

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