At least 1,447 people have been injured, including 401 Iraqi security personnel, Demonstrations erupted in the capital Baghdad and in several provinces across Iraq on Tuesday and Wednesday over unemployment, government corruption and the lack of basic services. Authorities have imposed an internet blackout and shut down 75% of the internet across the country. There was a heavy security presence on the capital’s streets on Thursday morning, with closures on the city’s main arteries.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi held an emergency meeting on Wednesday with members of the national security council and announced a curfew. “The Council stressed that appropriate measures should be taken to protect citizens and public and private properties,” a statement said. On Wednesday, hundreds of angry protesters stormed the governors’ offices in Najaf and Nasiriyah, setting fire to parts of the buildings. Iraqi security forces fired tear gas, water cannon and live ammunition to disperse the crowds. Iraq’s defense minister has ordered the country’s armed forces to be on high alert. Amnesty International urged Iraqi authorities to carry out an urgent and independent investigation into the “excessive violence” used against demonstrators.