Anti-government protesters block Baghdad’s Al-Jumhuriya bridge on Tuesday. (Sabah Arar/AFP via Getty Images)

Iraqi Death Toll Spikes as Security Forces Appear to Use More Live Fire

At least 13 protesters have been killed in Iraq since Monday, indicating that security forces there may be using live ammunition more often to quell anti-government disturbances. The demonstrators are protesting against poor living conditions and what they say is widespread corruption in the government and among the country’s elites. At least eight people died during street demonstrations early on Tuesday, while five others were killed late on Monday, with the overall death toll now at over 260 since the protests began on October 1. The vast majority of the dead were killed during the first week, when security forces were roundly condemned both domestically and internationally for using live fire too readily. Following a lull, the disturbances began anew about a week ago. Some protesters have complained that Shi’ite militias loyal to Iran are behind some of the deaths, and that Tehran’s increasing influence over Baghdad is the reason for at least some of the country’s economic woes.

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