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Iraqis keep up anti-government protests despite PM’s vow to quit

Protesters have hit the streets since early October in the largest grassroots movement Iraq has seen in decades, sparked by fury at poor public services, lack of jobs and endemic government graft.

Facing pressure from the street and the country’s top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, Abdel Mahdi announced on Friday that he would submit his resignation to parliament, due to meet tomorrow. But demonstrations have not subsided, with crowds in the capital and across the Shia majority south sticking to their weeks-long demand of complete regime change.

Hundreds converged in the main protest camp in Nasiriyah’s city centre and set tyres ablaze on three bridges spanning the Euphrates River. Iraq’s second holy city of Karbala was rocked by overnight clashes with young protesters and security forces trading fire bombs until the early hours of the morning. Over two days, 42 people were shot dead in Nasiriyah, 22 in Najaf and three in Baghdad.

Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council announced on Saturday that it had formed a committee to investigate the events, pledging to punish those who attacked protesters. 

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