Iraq Declares Baghdad Curfew as Renewed Protests Enter Fourth Day

BAGHDAD (Reuters) -
Demonstrators disperse as Iraqi security forces use tear gas during a protest against government corruption amid dissatisfaction at lack of jobs and services at Tahrir Square in Baghdad, Iraq. (Reuters/Thaier Al-Sudani)

Iraq declared a curfew in Baghdad on Monday from midnight until 6 a.m. as renewed anti-government protests in which over 200 people have been killed entered a fourth day with students joining in.

State media cited the Baghdad Operations Commander as giving the order, which it said was effective “until further notice.”

Security forces on Monday fired tear gas at school and university students who defied a warning from Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and joined the protests.

A spokesman for Abdul Mahdi, whose position is increasingly precarious as he faces the largest challenge since he came to power a year ago, said on Sunday that anyone disrupting work or school days would be punished.

Mass street protests in Baghdad and other cities in the southern Shiite heartland against economic hardship began at the start of the month and resumed on Friday after a pause of about two weeks.

Thousands of Iraqi protesters gathered in Baghdad’s central Tahrir Square on Sunday, defying a bloody crackdown that had killed scores over the previous two days, and an overnight raid by security forces seeking to disperse them.