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Defying curfew and crackdown, thousands of protesters gather in Baghdad

Credit: Reuters - Politics
Published on October 30, 2019 - Duration: 01:39s

Defying curfew and crackdown, thousands of protesters gather in Baghdad

Thousands of Iraqis defied a curfew by demonstrating in Baghdad's Tahrir Square on Wednesday (October 30) for a sixth day of anti-government protests.

Emily Wither reports.

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Defying curfew and crackdown, thousands of protesters gather in Baghdad

A deadly crackdown and a curfew hasn't held the crowds back, with thousands of Iraqis heading to Baghdad's Tahrir Square for a sixth consecutive day of anti-government protests.

This protest appearing bigger and more diverse with lots of women and students joining in.

(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER, SAYING: "'Til when, will we stay like this?

We are a nation that loves life, our country is rich.

You steal from us.

We will remain steadfast, men and women.

We have brave men.

We, men and women will stay here, we will never withdraw.

Here is our shroud we are wrapping ourselves with.

We won't leave here." The latest protests in the capital took place after a night of violence on Monday (October 28).

According to medical and security sources, Iraqi forces opened fire on protesters killing at least 18 people in the Shi'ite holy city of Kerbala.

At least 250 people have been killed since the unrest started on October 1.

On the political front the Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi's tenure is looking increasingly fragile, with his two main backers agreeing to work to remove him from office.

Populist Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who leads parliament's largest bloc, had asked Abdul Mahdi to call an early election.

When the premier refused, he called on his main political rival Hadi al-Amiri to help oust him.

The calls for change from all sides are growing louder.

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