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US Calls for Early Elections, End to Violence in Iraq
Iraqi protesters sit opposite of the abandoned "Turkish restaurant" building at Baghdad's Tahrir square during ongoing anti-government demonstrations on November 11, 2019. The US has urged Iraq to hold early polls and carry out electoral reform, after a rights group warned a deadly crackdown on anti-government protesters could spiral into a "bloodbath." (Sahah Arar/AFP via Getty Images)

US Calls for Early Elections, End to Violence in Iraq

In the wake of the government crackdown on anti-government protests across Iraq, in which security forces have killed around 300 demonstrators and injured nearly 15,000, the US has called on Iraq’s government to employ restraint in dealing with the protesters, remove restrictions on internet access, implement electoral reforms, and hold early elections. The demonstrations, which began on October 1 and have escalated in waves, are protesting against government corruption, lack of services, sectarianism, unemployment, and foreign – particularly Iranian – influence on the country. They are believed to be the largest demonstrations in Iraq since the fall of President Saddam Hussein in 2003. The US wants “the Iraqi government to halt the violence against protesters and fulfil President [Barham] Saleh’s promise to pass electoral reform and hold early elections,” the White House said in a statement Sunday.

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