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Iraqi Government Imposes "Around the Clock" Curfew and Nation-Wide Internet Blackout in Response to Massive Protests

By: Politicized News

· Global Affairs

The Iraqi government has instituted an around-the-clock curfew, along with an almost complete internet blackout, in response to violent protests taking place throughout the country. The protests seem to lack any organization or leadership and are filled with citizens demanding an end to unemployment, government corruption, and access to basic services, like water and electricity. Since the protests started in the country's capital city of Baghdad on Tuesday, they've spread throughout the country, leading authorities to take harsher action.

The Protests:
The demonstrations have been becoming increasingly more violent, with the current death toll at 22 (21 protesters and one police officer). Over 1,447 people, including 401 Iraqi security forces, have been injured in clashes between demonstrators and police. On Wednesday, Iraqi state-run media reported that demonstrators stormed governmental offices in the cities of Najaf and Nasiriyah, setting fire to buildings. Reports also indicate that demonstrators attempted to enter the Iraqi "green zone", a heavily fortified area containing U.S. military bases and various foreign embassies. •
The Government's Response:
In Baghdad, security forces have imposed an around the clock curfew "until further notice", to "protect general peace" and protect protesters from "infiltrators." The same curfew has been imposed in Najaf and Nasiriyah. The government has also "intentionally restricted" almost 75% of all internet access throughout the country, according to Netblocks, and internet monitoring NGO. Security forces fired tear gas and live ammunition on protesters who defied the curfew on Thursday morning, leading watchdog NGOs like Amnesty International to accuse the Iraqi government of "excessive violence" against protesters. 

Protests and Strikes have also been growing in Egypt, Lebanon, and Jordan, over economic issues and government corruption.

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