Around 200 protesters took to the streets in eastern Baghdad yesterday after Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel-Mahdi ordered replacing army troops in the area with police following the use of “excessive force” against demonstrators.
In Baghdad’s Sadr City eastern suburb, the protesters chanted slogans demanding job opportunities and denouncing the killing of demonstrators the night before, witnesses told DPA.
At least eight people were killed in clashes between army forces and protesters in Sadr City on Sunday night, according to witnesses. A security source said scores of people were wounded.
The Iraqi military said in a statement yesterday that an “excessive force beyond the engagement rules” was used in the clashes and measures to hold officers who committed such mistakes accountable have begun via investigating councils.
Since Tuesday, thousands of Iraqis have taken to the streets of several provinces in the oil-rich country to protest corruption, lack of job opportunities and poor services — in particular access to electricity and clean water.
More than 104 people, mainly demonstrators, have been killed and about 6,107 others injured in the protests.
On Sunday, Abdel-Mahdi discussed the protests in a phone call with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“The prime minister reviewed the latest developments and the return to normal life after a curfew was lifted and affirmed that security forces have controlled the situation, and stability has been restored,” a statement by Abdel-Mahdi’s office said yesterday.
He also asserted that his government has outlined a package of reforms and measures and will continue to provide more to respond to the protesters’ demands, according to the statement.
Pompeo expressed his trust in the Iraqi security forces and affirmed Washington’s support for Iraq and its government’s efforts to boost security and stability.
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