Security forces opened fire on protesters in Baghdad and several cities in southern Iraq on Sunday, killing at least nine people and wounding dozens of others, police and medical sources said, the latest violence in weeks of unrest.
Anti-government protests erupted in early October and have swollen into the largest demonstrations since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. A Reuters tally of the dead as given by security and medical sources shows at least 339 people have been killed.
Iraq’s state news agency quoted the health minister on Sunday as saying 111 people had been killed, including protesters and members from security forces, without breaking down the tally or elaborating over what period. It was the first official figure issued by a government official since Oct. 25.
A government report last month had said there were 157 deaths during the first week of October. Protests paused after then and resumed on Oct. 25.
Protesters are demanding the overthrow of a political class seen as corrupt and serving foreign powers while many Iraqis languish in poverty without jobs, healthcare or education.