UPDATES WITH UN REACTION
By Naza Mohammed
BAGHDAD (AA) – Four people have been killed in anti-government protests in Baghdad, an Iraqi medical source said on Wednesday.
More than 700 other people were injured in the demonstrations that took place on Tuesday, the source told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
Thousands of Iraqis took to the streets in Baghdad on Tuesday to protest the government’s failure to improve living standards and fight corruption, with security forces using live ammunition and tear gas to disperse the protesters.
Similar protests and confrontations took place in the southern cities of Basra and Nasiriyah.
Iraq’s Independent High Commission for Human Rights earlier put the death toll at two, saying that around 260 people were injured in the protests.
For her part, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, special representative of the secretary-general for the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq, expressed deep concern over the protests and called for calm in the country.
"Every individual has the right to speak freely, in keeping with the law," she said in a statement.
The UN representative also called on the Iraqi authorities to exercise restraint in their handling of the protests "to ensure the safety of peaceful protesters while upholding law and order and protecting the people, public and private property".
Tuesday’s protests were the most serious against Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s government since it was formed a year ago.
*Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara