Monday, 17 January 2022

Iraq army declares curfew in Baghdad

(Reuters Photo)

BAGHDAD: The Iraqi army announced it would impose an overnight curfew in the capital as students and schoolchildren joined spreading protests to demand an overhaul of the government.

Swathes of Iraq have been engulfed by demonstrations over unemployment and corruption this month that have evolved into demands for regime change.

The rallies have gathered despite temporary curfews, threats of arrest and violence that has left nearly 240 people dead, including five protesters in Baghdad on Monday.

The military said cars and foot traffic would be barred in the capital for six hours starting at midnight.

The move sparked concern security forces want to clear out main gathering places like the capital’s Tahrir Square, occupied by demonstrators for four consecutive nights.

Security forces there have relied heavily on tear gas to keep protesters from storming the Green Zone, which hosts government offices and foreign offices.

But protesters had otherwise been allowed to set up tents in Tahrir and ta­­­ken over multi-storey buildings there since Thursday in a marked departure from the response to protests during the first week of this month.

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