Date: Oct 3, 2019
Source: The Daily Star
Eleven people killed in southern Iraq protests overnight
Iran says two border crossings to Iraq closed because of unrest in Iraq
BAGHDAD: Eleven people were killed during protests overnight in two southern Iraqi cities, including a policeman, police and medical sources said Thursday, raising the death toll to 18 since anti-government protests turned violent two days ago.

Seven protesters and a policeman died in Nassiriya during clashes between demonstrators and security forces. Four more people were killed in the city of Amara, the sources said.

Troops patrolled central areas of Baghdad early Thursday to enforce a curfew ordered by Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, but sporadic demonstrations continued in some parts of the Iraqi capital, Reuters witnesses said. Security forces fired live rounds early Thursday to break up protests on their third day in Baghdad, an AFP photographer said, despite a curfew in effect since dawn.

A few dozen protesters were burning tires in the capital's central Tahrir Square but riot police encircled them, pushed them into side streets and fired in the air, the photographer said.

The unrest spread quickly from small-scale protests in Baghdad Tuesday over jobs, services and government corruption. At least two people were killed that day as security forces opened live fire and shot water cannon and tear gas. Around 400 have been wounded including demonstrators and police, according to health authorities.

Abdul Mahdi ordered a curfew in Baghdad from 5:00 a.m. (0200 GMT) Thursday until further notice.

The protests are the biggest against Abdul Mahdi's government which took office nearly a year ago, and the biggest in the country since September 2018.

Travelers to and from Baghdad airport, ambulances, government employees in hospitals, electricity, and water departments, and religious pilgrims are exempt from the curfew, the statement said. It was up to provincial governors to decide whether to declare curfews elsewhere.

Curfew imposed in Baghdad after deadly protests

Agence France Presse
BAGHDAD: An indefinite curfew came into effect early Thursday in Iraq's capital after two days of chaotic protests across the country that descended into violence and left nine dead.

Iraqi premier Adel Abdel Mahdi ordered the ban on movements across Baghdad starting at 5:00 a.m. local time (0200 GMT) to stem the popular demonstrations over widespread unemployment and state corruption.

Early Thursday, some cars and civilians were seen in the capital's streets, an AFP photographer said, but residents are wary that more protests could erupt after firebrand cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called for "a general strike".

The tension has been exacerbated by a near-total internet shutdown, the closure of government offices and at least one overnight explosion that hit the Green Zone, where some ministries and embassies are located.

A security source inside the area told AFP there were two blasts, likely caused by indirect fire a little over a week after two rockets hit near the U.S. embassy there.

The apparent attack came hours after security forces sealed off the Green Zone "until further notice", fearing angry protesters would swarm state buildings or foreign missions.

Since erupting in Baghdad Tuesday, the protests have spread to other cities in the country's south.

Iran says two border crossings to Iraq closed because of unrest in Iraq

Two border crossings between Iran and Iraq, including one due to be used by hundreds of thousands of Shi'ite Muslim worshippers at an annual pilgrimage this month, have been closed because of unrest in Iraq, Iran's border guards said Thursday.

Anti-government protests have turned violent in recent days in Iraq, with at least 18 people reported killed.

Iranian border guards commander General Qasem Rezaei said the Khosravi and Chazabeh crossings had been closed since late Wednesday, Iran's semi-official Mehr news agency reported.

A senior Iranian pilgrimage official told state television that the Khosravi border crossing was closed, but other crossings were open ahead of an annual Shi'ite Muslim pilgrimage in Iraq.

Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said last week three million Iranian pilgrims were expected to visit Iraq's southern city of Karbala later this month for the religious ritual of Arbaeen, which marks the end of a 40-day mourning period for the grandson of the Prophet Mohammad.