Iraqi Prime Minister to Submit Resignation Letter to Parliament Amid Protests
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said Friday, following weeks of protests in the country, he would submit his resignation letter to parliament.
"I will submit the official letter to the House of Representatives to step down as head of the present government to let the parliament consider their variants", the prime minister said in a statement.
While the Iraqi Health Ministry claims that the death toll amid growing violent protests across the country has grown to 400 people, the actual number is much higher, Salam Ali, a member of the Central Committee of Iraq's Communist Party, stated.
"Everyone, who had been involved in the killing of protesters, must be held accountable. The number of killed almost equals to 400 according to the health ministry. The real number is much higher", Ali said at a press conference, adding that Adel Abdul Mahdi's government should resign over the failure to meet demonstrators' demands.
He noted that the recent clashes with security forces resulted in 47 casualties among demonstrators in Nasiriyah, ten in the city of Najaf and four in central Baghdad on the Al-Ahrar bridge.
"We can classify this as a crime against humanity …The current developments are unprecedented", he said.
He also added that around 30 percent of the country's population lived below the poverty line, the number higher by some 10 percentage points in southern Iraq.
Earlier in the day, media reported that at least 45 protesters were killed by security forces and 152 others were injured in Iraq's southern city of Nasiriyah and the capital of Baghdad during the past 24 hours.
The ongoing unrest in Iraq began in early October and developed in waves of escalation. The people are demanding the government's dismissal and an end to the economic crisis. In November, 66 Iraqi officers stood trial for excessive use of force against the protesters.
Iraq faced similar protests in 2011 when demonstrators also demanded better living conditions, an end to corruption and a resolution to the unemployment issue. In 2013, the new rallies were organised by Sunni Arabs, who felt marginalised after the United States' intervention 10 years earlier, as the Shia majority gained power after the Sunni-dominated Baath party was overthrown.
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