By Naza Mohammed
BAGHDAD (AA) - Anti-government protestors took to the streets for the second day across Iraq, including the capital Baghdad, demanding improved living conditions and an end to "government corruption".
Women also participated in the on-going protests on Wednesday, with security services on high alert and security forces locking down several squares and streets in Baghdad.
The country's National Security Council held an emergency meeting with the attendance of Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi, to discuss the urgent developments and how to address the protests.
The UN representative in Iraq also called on Iraqi authorities to exercise restraint.
Successive Iraqi governments have failed to put an end to "nepotism and corruption" as the current government struggles to end mismanagement of public funds.
According to World Bank figures, youth unemployment in Iraq has reached around 25%. The country is also ranked as the 12th most corrupt country in the world by several transparency organizations.
* Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara