The authorities of Iraq have lessened the curfew hours in Baghdad from six hours to four hours as anti-government protests continued across the capital city. Baghdad Operations Command (BOC) released a statement on November 2 which decided to schedule the new curfew hours from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. ahead of the security reasons of Baghdad province, according to the reports. The previous curfew was imposed on October 28 which started at midnight.
According to the statement, the curfew hours reduced because it is intended to provide more time for the protestors to return home. The anti-government protests have erupted since October which killed at least 82 people and injured more than 3000 in clashes between protesters and security forces. The actual demonstrations erupted from October 1 which saw widespread protests in the capital and other regions of Iraq due to anger over the lack of public services and employment opportunities.
Nearly 157 people died in the ongoing violence and political unrest including eight members of the security forces in Iraq.
The authorities struggled to address the protestors' grievances since the widespread unrest began on October 1, spreading to southern cities. Demonstrators blame corrupt officials and political elites for failing to improve their lives. Two demonstrators died with reports indicating they were hit in the head or face by tear gas canisters. There were no reports of live fire being used to disperse the crowd. The unrest has posed the biggest challenge to Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi since he took office just one year ago. Despite promising reforms and a broad cabinet reshuffle, the party has so far struggled to address protesters’ demands.
The politicians planned to have a stronger presence on Friday but their interference continued to rejected by the protestors. Iraq has been seeing conflicts for decades that finally calmed in 2017 with a declared victory over the Islamic State group. The restrictions have been decreased around the Green Zone but were reimposed as the October demonstrations began in Tahrir. Authorities have also cut the internet connectivity.
(With agency inputs)