Iraq protests 2019
© Associated Press/Hadj Mizban
Anti-government protesters take over an armored vehicle before they burn it during a demonstration in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019.
A brutal crackdown on anti-government protests that erupted across Iraq has killed almost 100 people and left thousands more injured, according to officials. Hundreds of demonstrators have also been detained.

The death toll from the mass protests, which entered their fifth day on Saturday, currently stands at 93, according to the country's human rights commission. The committee claimed that an additional 4,000 people have been injured. A total of 540 protesters have been arrested, with 200 still in police custody.

Security forces have repeatedly used live ammunition to disperse the demonstrations, which were sparked by widespread anger over poor social services and spiraling corruption. A curfew was implemented in the capital in an attempt to quell the unrest. The restrictions were lifted on Saturday, according to reports.

In a televised address on Friday, Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said that protesters' demands for social and political reforms were "righteous," but urged Iraqis to return to their homes. He defended measures taken by security forces, comparing them to "bitter" but necessary medicine that needed to be swallowed.

Iraq's current political and social crisis can be traced back to the US invasion of the country in 2003, Sami Ramadani, a member of the Stop the War Сoalition, told RT.
The problems have become so deep, the destruction [from the US-led invasion] was so massive, and the political elites that the US installed in Iraq were almost all very corrupt. And this has added to the problem of trying to recover from that destructive occupation.
He added that the government cannot use live ammunition against demonstrators, while simultaneously calling for peaceful protests and respect for the rule of law.