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  • A demonstrator throws away a tear gas canister during the ongoing anti-government protests in Baghdad, Iraq Nov. 11, 2019.

    A demonstrator throws away a tear gas canister during the ongoing anti-government protests in Baghdad, Iraq Nov. 11, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 11 November 2019

Security forces have used live ammunition, tear gas and stun grenades against mostly young and unarmed protesters, killing more than 280 people.

Protests in Iraq's capital Baghdad continued on Monday as both Iraqi forces and protesters tried to dislodge each other from an area leading to the Green Zone.

The protests that began on Oct. 1 were initially focused on a lack of jobs and services but quickly morphed into a denunciation of the sectarian power-sharing system of government introduced in 2003 and the political elites they say benefit from it.

Security forces have used live ammunition, tear gas and stun grenades against mostly young and unarmed protesters, killing more than 280 people.

Iraqi leaders agreed on Sunday that electoral reforms should give more chance for young people to participate in politics and break the monopoly on power of political parties that have dominated state institutions since 2003, state media reported.

The unrest, the worst for two years, is one of the biggest and most complicated challenges to the current ruling elite since it took power after the U.S. invasion and toppling of autocrat Saddam Hussein in 2003.

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