By Mehmet Nuri Ucar
BAGHDAD (AA) – At least 60 people have been killed since anti-government protests erupted across Iraq earlier this week, according to the country’s health ministry.
More than 2,500 people have also been injured since the protests began on Oct. 1 in Baghdad and the country’s southern provinces, said an official from the ministry who declined to be named.
Members of the security forces were among the dead, the official said, without providing an exact figure.
Angry protesters stormed the provincial council in Shia-dominated Al-Diwaniyah in southern Iraq on Friday, according to a police officer.
"Hundreds of demonstrators stormed the provincial council’s building after violent clashes with security forces," Police Lieutenant Jassim al-Tamimi told Anadolu Agency.
Dozens of demonstrators were injured by gunfire and police were injured by stones in the clashes.
Protesters have been demanding improvements in living conditions and an end to corruption. Security forces have reportedly opened fire on protesters to disperse them, causing mass casualties.
Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi ordered a government-enforced curfew to be lifted in Baghdad and some other southern cities as of 5 a.m. local time (0200 GMT) Saturday, state media reported.