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UN calls for an end to violence in Iraq

Almost 100 people have been killed after a week of anti-government protests in Iraq, where security forces accused of firing tear gas, alongside live rounds and sniper fire.

The UN’s top official in Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, said “this just stop”, after five days of violence.

She said there had been a “senseless loss of life” and called for accountability for the deaths.

“We demand clarification from the Iraqi government on those wounded in Baghdad by sniper fire, which is ongoing today,” the Iraqi Parliament’s human rights commission said.

The protests are targeting the government of Abdul Mahdi, who took office as prime minister last year, accusing it of doing little to tackle corruption, unemployment and poverty in the country, which is still reeling from years of conflict stemming from the US invasion in 2003.

Mahdi states the protestors had “legitimate demands” but went on to state that there was no "magic solution" to the country’s issues. He added that the Iraqi security forces, were abiding by "international standards" and the heavy-handed response was a “bitter medicine” for the country to swallow.

“It has been 16 years of corruption and injustice,” one protestor told The Guardian. “We are not afraid of bullets or the death of martyrs. We will keep going and we won’t back down.”

See more from The Guardian here, the BBC here and Al-Jazeera here.