Iraqi security forces use tear gas to disperse the crowds in central Baghdad. AFP
At least two demonstrators died in Baghdad on Friday, the Iraqi Human Rights Commission said, as anti-government protests resumed following the deaths of dozens earlier this month.
Commission member Ali Bayati said both demonstrators appeared to have died from wounds sustained when they were hit by tear gas canisters. Nearly 100 people were wounded.
The confrontations began early in the morning. The protests began on Oct. 1 over corruption, unemployment and lack of basic services but quickly turned deadly as security forces cracked down, using live ammunition for days.
The protests then spread to several, mainly Shiite-populated southern provinces and authorities imposed a curfew and shut down the internet for days in an effort to quell the unrest.
After a week of violence in the capital and the country's southern provinces, a government-appointed inquiry into the protests determined that security forces had used excessive force, killing 149 people and wounding over 3,000. Eight members of the security forces were also killed.
The protests, unprecedented in their scale, threatened to plunge Iraq into a new cycle of instability that potentially could be the most dangerous this conflict-scarred nation has faced, barely two years after declaring victory over the Daesh group.
More than 250 Iraqis have been killed in demonstrations against government since the start of October.
The death toll from protests this month has soared to 220, including dozens killed since Friday as they torched government buildings or offices.
Iraq's military said on Tuesday one member of an Interior Ministry force was killed and four wounded when they came under fire from unknown assailants in Sadr City, where 15 people died the previous night in riots.
Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in recent weeks in the capital, Baghdad, and across the Shiite south, demanding sweeping political change. The protesters complain of widespread corruption, a lack of job opportunities and poor basic services, with regular power cuts despite the country's vast oil reserves.
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The three teachers, all in their 30s, reportedly told investigators that their treatment of the toddlers was "discipline,” while the director said he had the document signed only to protect privacy of those involved and denied trying to cover up the abuses.