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Two Dozen Killed In Renewed Iraqi Protests


Demonstrators run during a protest over corruption, lack of jobs, and poor services in Baghdad on October 25.

At least 24 people were killed in fresh protests in Iraq's capital, Baghdad, and other cities in the south of the country, a national rights watchdog says.

The October 25 protests come after weeklong anti-government demonstrations earlier this month that resulted in more than 150 people killed.

Police used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse hundreds of protesters as protests resumed following the three-week hiatus.

Demonstrators were protesting corruption, unemployment, and lack of basic services.

In Baghdad, eight protesters were killed, the Iraqi Human Rights Commission said. At least five of them were protesters struck by tear-gas canisters, security sources said.

Some reports said police fired live shots into the air.

A week of mass rallies hit Iraqi streets beginning on October 1, leading to the deaths of at least 157 people, according to an official investigation.

The Iraqi military admitted it had used "excessive force" during the protests and said it had "begun to hold accountable those commanding officers who carried out these wrong acts."

The wave of protests -- the deadliest unrest since the Islamic State (IS) extremist group was declared defeated in Iraq in 2017 -- is seen as the first major challenge to Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi's government, nearly a year since he came to power.

Iraq has a population of nearly 40 million people and is the world's fifth-largest oil producer and exporter, but overall poverty rates are estimated at above 20 percent of the population.

Youth unemployment stands at 25 percent, twice the overall rate, in the country.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, dpa, and AP