More than 100 people have been killed and 6,000 wounded across the country since protests broke out on Tuesday, according to the Interior Ministry. While Iraqi security forces claimed to have only resorted to live fire against "armed militants posing as protesters", there is a growing belief among the Iraqi protesters that Iran and its local proxies are responsible for employing the lethal force.
Abadi, whose own political career was torpedoed by his response to similar protests in Basra past year, also called for the "formation of a criminal court of corruption" and warned that the reforms demanded by protesters needed to be swiftly implemented.
It is the bloodiest unrest and biggest challenge to Iraq's security since the declared defeat of Islamic State in 2017 and has shaken Abdul Mahdi's year-old government.
She also said that Human Right Watch has confirmed 12 deaths and further expressed concern about tear gas, live ammunition used by the military against protesters. They also have strong backing from Iran, creating a potential global dimension to the crisis in a country that is a client and ally of both Tehran and its biggest foe, Washington.
"Police forces have taken over security and deployed today in Sadr City to preserve the lives of citizens and protect protesters", police commander Maj. The chaos also comes at a critical time for the government, which has been caught in the middle of increasing U.S. -Iran tensions in the region. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.
Hundreds gathered on side streets near Sadr City, a Baghdad suburb about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from the central Tahrir Square, which has been the destination of demonstrators, although authorities prevented them from reaching it.
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Eighteen people were killed in clashes late on Saturday and into early Sunday in the capital Baghdad, the police and medical sources said.
Iraq's military admitted for the first time Monday it had used "excessive force" in almost a week of deadly protests, as paramilitary units said they were ready to back the government. This past week's protests have left more than 100 dead and thousands wounded. "This must stop. I call on all parties to pause and reflect", Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert tweeted Saturday.
"We will not let anyone meddle with the security of our people", al-Fayadh said.
Moreover, Nadhim al-Jubouri, another political analyst from Salahudin province told Xinhua that even if Abdul Mahdi is to be replaced, his successive premier will not be able to come up with needed and tangible reforms because the political process is built on ethno-sectarian power-sharing that would make the decision-making hard among the fragmented political blocs.
The United Nations on Saturday urged an end to violence in Iraq, after days of protests calling for the government to resign.
Atheer Assem, a pizza restaurant owner, said he was able to shop Sunday, the start of the working week, for ingredients for his baked goods.
Protesters have defied an around-the-clock curfew and authorities blocking the internet. "That's a lesson they learned from Basra in 2018 because protests stopped after 20 or so people were killed. there's a logic that if you kill enough people they'll quiet down", said Renad Mansour, research fellow at Chatham House.
Gunmen also attacked the offices of Iraq's private Dajla and NRT news channels, according to employees at the stations.