Baghdad (Iraqinews.com) – The Iraqi Health Ministry has announced that eight people have been killed so far as a result of protests that started last week in Basra and extended to other southern provinces within a few days.
Speaking at a press conference, Seif al-Badr, the ministry’s spokesman, said that the “clashes between protesters and security forces left 56 people injured, almost half of them are policemen.”
According to the spokesman, three deaths were reported in Muthanna governorate, two deaths in each of Basra and Najaf, and one in Karbala.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi Interior Ministry has said that up to 274 security forces were injured in clashes with protesters since the start of mass demonstrations across the nation last week.
In an online statement, the ministry said there were brigadier generals and senior policemen among the injured.
Angry demonstrators took to the streets last week in protest at high unemployment rates, corruption and poor public services. They started their rallies in Basra province, but later the protests extended to other cities, including Amara, Nasiriya, Karbala and the Shiite holy city of Najaf.
The protests prompted the government, under Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, to impose a curfew in several provinces and put security forces on high alert.