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Iraqi protesters defy curfew as violence leaves 31 dead

Authorities cut internet access in much of Iraq since last night in a desperate move to curb the rallies. By today afternoon, the curfew was extended to three other southern provinces.

The spontaneous rallies have been spurred mostly by youths wanting jobs, improved services such as electricity and water, and an end to endemic corruption in the oil-rich country.

The unrest is a serious challenge for Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi’s year-old government, which also has been caught in the middle of increasing US-Iran tensions in the region. 

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