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Toll in Iraqi rallies reaches 21

An anti-government protester waves a national flag during a demonstration in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019. Iraqi security forces fired live bullets into the air and used tear gas against a few hundred protesters in central Baghdad on Thursday, hours after a curfew was announced in the Iraqi capital on the heels of two days of deadly violence that gripped the country amid anti-government protests that killed several people in two days. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

BAGHDAD, Oct 3, (Agencies): Iraqi security forces imposed a round-the-clock curfew in Baghdad and fired live rounds and tear-gas on Thursday to disperse anti-government protests that have gripped the country since earlier this week, killing 21 people so far. In a desperate attempt to quell the demonstrations, which were spontaneous and mostly spurred by woes over deteriorating economy and lack of jobs and services, authorities have cut internet access across much of Iraq.

Before dawn, explosions were heard inside Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, home to government offices and foreign embassies. The US-led coalition said an investigation is underway, adding that no coalition forces or assets were hit.

So far, at least 21 people have been reported killed and hundreds have been wounded since the violence and clashes between security forces and anti-government demonstrators first erupted on Tuesday.

Twelve people were killed late Wednesday in the southern cities of Nasriyah, Kut, and Amara. The dead were protesters and one policeman, according to security officials.

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