Iraq protests: UN calls for end to 'senseless loss of life'

Media captionWatch protesters flee in Baghdad as Iraqi security forces fire tear gas

The United Nations has called for an end to the “senseless loss of life” in Iraq as the death toll from anti-government protests nears 100.

Demonstrators say they are taking a stand against unemployment, poor public services and corruption in the country.

Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq said: “Five days of deaths and injuries: this must stop.”

She said those responsible for the loss of life should be brought to justice.

On Saturday, security forces broke up a mass rally in the east of Baghdad.

Five people are said to have died in the latest clashes in the capital. Security forces are again reported to have used live rounds and tear gas.

The Iraqi parliament’s human rights commission said at least 99 people had died and nearly 4,000 had been wounded since protests began in the capital on Tuesday before spreading to the south of Iraq.

It is the deadliest unrest since so-called Islamic State was declared defeated in Iraq in 2017.

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

The authorities have been trying to control the protests through curfews and a near-total internet blackout.

What’s the latest?

The daytime curfew in Baghdad was lifted on…

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