(8 Oct 2019) Iraqi security police and army personnel on Tuesday removed the blast walls cutting through the streets of Baghdad, a day after calm was restored in the capital.
Baghdad streets were relatively quiet on Tuesday, and in Al-Tayran (Aviation) Square a crane removed the blast walls that were erected to make it difficult for protesters to reach the area.
Iraq’s prime minister on Monday ordered the police to replace the army in a heavily populated Shiite neighbourhood of Baghdad where dozens of people were killed or wounded in weekend clashes stemming from anti-government protests.
Also on Monday, Iraqi President Barham Salih called on protesters to open a dialogue with the government to discuss their demands.
Unemployed citizens gathered at the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in Baghdad to register their names to get a donation for three months, as promised by the Iraqi government.
Ministry employees set up desks outside the ministry and started to register thousands of unemployed citizens.
A week of violence in Iraq has left more than 100 dead and thousands wounded.
Since October 1, spontaneous rallies have erupted in Baghdad and a number of southern cities by Iraqis demanding jobs, better basic services such as electricity and water, and an end to endemic corruption. Security forces have responded with live ammunition and tear gas to quell the protests.
The unrest is the most serious challenge facing Iraq, two years after the victory against Islamic State militants. The chaos also comes at a critical time for the government, which has been caught in the middle of increasing tensions between Iran and the US in the region.
Iraq is allied with both countries and hosts thousands of US troops, as well as powerful paramilitary forces allied with Iran.
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