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Iraq's PM announces three days of mourning for demonstrators killed in protests

At least 110 Iraqis have died in wave of protests that began on 1 October
Cyber-security NGO NetBlocks says internet was cut again in Iraq for sixth time on Wednesday (Reuters)

Iraq will hold a three-day period of mourning for more than 110 people killed in protests this month, the Iraqi prime minister said.

The announcement by Adil Abdul-Mahdi's office on Wednesday comes two days after Iraqi President Barham Salih called for a "halt to escalation" in response to the demonstrations.

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Protests in the country began on 1 October, when mostly young Iraqis came out to rail against mass corruption, unemployment and lack of public services.

Security forces shot tear gas and used live ammunition on demonstrators, often firing directly into crowds. The death toll on Wednesday stood at at least 110, and more than 6,000 people have been injured since the protests began.

There have also been reports of snipers firing on demonstrators, which Baghdad has said it will investigate.  

Still, Amnesty International said on Wednesday that the pledge was "already ringing hollow as protesters continue to be harassed and threatened into silence".

With the death toll mounting over the past week, security forces admitted for the first time on Monday that they used excessive force against the protesters in Sadr City, in the eastern Baghdad district.

Internet shutdown

In response to the protests, the Iraqi government announced a series of reforms to create jobs, tackle poverty, fire corrupt officials and give grants to unemployed citizens.

While a period of relative calm emerged on Wednesday, internet services remained shut down across Iraq.

The cyber-security NGO NetBlocks said that internet was cut again in the country for the sixth time on Wednesday.

Last week, security forces had imposed a curfew and shut down the internet in response to the demonstrations. According to NetBlocks, the outages have hit most of Iraq.