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Death Toll From Iraqi Mass Protests Reaches 100


Demonstrators defy a curfew two days after the nationwide anti-government protests turned violent, in Baghdad on October 3.

The human rights commission of Iraq's parliament has said that the death toll at mass protests in Baghdad and cities across southern Iraq has risen to 100 as the unrest entered its fifth day.

Nearly 4,000 people have been injured since the protests against chronic unemployment, poor public services, and widespread corruption began in the capital, the commission said on October 5.

At least five people were shot and killed by security forces in four neighborhoods in the capital after an around-the-clock curfew in the Iraqi capital was lifted earlier the same day.

Authorities have imposed a virtual blackout of the Internet, slowing the confirmation of protest casualties in the southern provinces.

The latest death toll comes a day after prominent Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called for the government to resign and for early elections under United Nations supervision in response to the intensifying protests.

In a televised address earlier on October 4, Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi vowed to respond to the protesters’ "legitimate demands" but warned there was no "magic solution" to Iraq's problems.

Meanwhile, Iraq's top Shi’ite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, has urged both sides to end the violence "before it's too late."

Sistani blamed politicians for failing to enact promised reforms for the economy and against corruption. He urged the government to "carry out its duty" to ease people's suffering.

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