(5 Oct 2019) Life appeared to be returning gradually to normal in Baghdad after it had been crippled by protests and a curfew imposed by the government.
Iraq’s Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi lifted the curfew at 5 a.m. Saturday, after a meeting with the head of the country’s security forces.
Traffic was back on the streets at Tahrir Square, the main location for protests, while workers cleaned the streets and cleared away debris.
Ahmad Khayoun, head of engineering at Baghdad Municipality, said a giant effort was needed to remove the last traces of the protests.
On Friday, security forces opened fire directly at hundreds of anti-government demonstrators in central Baghdad, killing at least 17 protesters and injuring dozens, hours after Iraq’s top Shiite cleric warned both sides to end four days of violence.
The latest deaths raised the toll to 59 killed in the clashes and marked a sharp escalation in the use of force against unarmed protesters.
Spontaneous rallies, which began Tuesday, started as mostly young demonstrators demanded jobs, improved services like electricity and water and an end to corruption in the oil-rich country.
In a desperate attempt to curb massive rallies, authorities had blocked the internet and imposed an around-the-clock curfew in the capital.
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