Iraqi security forces fired live ammunition and rubber bullets as large crowds protested in Baghdad on Tuesday against state corruption and poor public services.
More than 50 people were injured, mainly from tear gas inhalation and some by rubber bullets, as Iraq’s new prime minister, Adil Abdul-Mahdi, faced his first major protest since coming to power a year ago.
At least a thousand people gathered in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square with Iraqi flags draped over their shoulders or wrapped around their foreheads. “Those thieves robbed us,” people cried in protest at widespread corruption.
Others were on the streets to protest at the lack of public services, including rampant power cuts, water shortages and high levels of unemployment.
Similar protests broke out in the southern city of Basra over the summer, sparked by crippling electricity and water shortages.
According to the World Bank, youth unemployment in Iraq is running at around 25 percent.
Since 2004, a year after the US-led invasion that ousted dictator Saddam Hussein, almost $450 billion of public funds has vanished into the pockets of politicians and businessmen, according to official figures.