- Title: Death toll surges to 44 as Iraq unrest accelerates; no "magic solution" says PM
- Date: 4th October 2019
- Summary: INJURED PROTESTER IN AMBULANCE BLOOD SOAKED BANDAGES
- Embargoed: 18th October 2019 18:18
- Keywords: Baghdad Iraq protest unrest demonstrations gun fire
- Location: BAGHDAD, IRAQ
- City: BAGHDAD, IRAQ
- Country: Iraq
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA002AZONZNR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS GRAPHIC MATERIAL
The death toll from days of violent demonstrations across Iraq surged to 44 on Friday (October 4), with the majority of people killed in the past 24 hours, as unrest accelerated across the country despite a plea from the prime minister for calm.
In a televised address, Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said he understood the frustration of the public but said there was no "magic solution" to Iraq's problems. He made reform pledges, but these drew a scornful response from demonstrators.
The violent demonstrations have escalated by the day since they first erupted on Tuesday (October 1), sweeping across the country spontaneously, without backing from any political group and taking authorities by surprise.
Security forces fired live ammunition at crowds of mainly young men, and gunmen have occasionally fired back. Hundreds of people have been wounded, including both members of the security forces and demonstrators.
Police and medical sources told Reuters the death toll of at least 44 included 18 people killed in the southern city of Nassiriya, 16 in the capital Baghdad, four in the southern city of Amara and four in Baquba. Other deaths were reported in two other southern cities, Hilla and Najaf.
Curfews were imposed in a number of cities. Authorities shut roads into the capital and are sending reinforcements to Baghdad's densely-populated east. Military convoys were being sent to Nassiriya, the city worst hit by the violence.
Protesters in Baghdad also gathered in darkness by a bonfire set among the flaming wreckage of an armoured vehicle, across the Tigris River from the government compound.
(Production: Mostafa Salem, Vin Shahresani)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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