UPDATE WITH INTERNET CUTS
By Ali Jawad
BAGHDAD (AA) - Iraqi authorities on Thursday imposed an indefinite curfew in Baghdad after 12 people died in ongoing anti-government protests.
Protests since Tuesday have broken out across several Iraqi governorates demanding improvement in living conditions and an end to corruption. Security forces have opened fire at protesters to disperse them causing mass casualties.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said the curfew will maintain public order and protect protesters from "infiltrators".
He added that the armed forces will allow movement for humanitarian cases and travellers to and from Baghdad airport.
Police officer Ahmed Khalaf told Anadolu Agency that the armed forces have started deployment of armored vehicles to implement the curfew.
In a related development, the internet service was cut off on Thursday in most parts of Iraq, including the capital Baghdad, according to NetBlocks, which monitors internet freedom.
A ban on social media networks plummeted communication by 70% over two days of popular protests, it added, blaming the government of internet censorship.
Iraqi government has yet to react on the claims.
*Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara