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Iraqis Protest against Living Conditions, Unemployment and Alleged Corruption

Iraqi police opened up with tear gas and water cannons against thousands of people who demonstrated in Baghdad on Tuesday to protest against unemployment and poor government services, as well as what the protesters claim has been high-level corruption. Eyewitnesses added that the police fired live ammunition into the air in additional efforts to disperse the crowds. Since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, the government has been rebuilding a state that saw massive destruction from the fighting aimed at his removal, as well as several damaging insurgencies, most notably by Islamic State. According to experts, the reconstruction has resulted in widespread economic exploitation and corruption, with many citizens complaining about poor infrastructure and widening electrical outages. Following a cabinet meeting earlier in the day, Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi issued a statement in which he promised to force government bodies to hire more local workers and to create jobs for university graduates.