The Latest: Curfews imposed in some Iraqi cities amid unrest

The Latest: Iraqi authorities impose curfew in some southern cities amid unrest, clashes between police, protesters

11:05 p.m.

The officials say a curfew was imposed in the city of Nasiriyah, southeast of the capital, where four protesters were killed on Wednesday, as well as in Amara and Hilla. They spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations

Anti-government protests that erupted on Tuesday over poor services, unemployment and corruption and have quickly escalated after government forces opened fire on demonstrators. At least nine people have been killed and hundreds wounded in the growing confrontations. The protesters are now calling for the government’s resignation.

In Baghdad, protesters closed the road leading to Baghdad airport and kept the way open for arrivals to the city.

—Qassim Abdul-Zahra in Baghdad;


8:55 p.m.

Iraqi officials say three more protesters have been killed in confrontations with security forces in a southern city in Iraq, bringing the overall death toll in two days of violence related to the protests to nine.

Security and medical officials say the deaths occurred in Nasiriyah, a city about 320 kilometers, or 200 miles southeast of the capital, Baghdad.

Hundreds of people have been protesting economic conditions in the country since Tuesday.

Earlier Wednesday, three anti-government protesters were killed in Baghdad and a fourth protester was killed in Nasiriyah when security forces opened fire and used tear gas canisters to disperse the demonstrators.

The officials said at least 70 were wounded in Wednesday’s confrontations. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with Iraqi regulations.

—Qassim Abdul-Zahra in Baghdad;


6:25 p.m.

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad is calling for restraint from all sides in Iraq and says it regrets the loss of life during the two days of protests that have gripped the country.

An embassy statement says the right to demonstrate peacefully is a “fundamental right in all democracies, but there is no place for violence in demonstrations from any side.”

The statement was published on Twitter on Wednesday. It was the first statement issued by the embassy since protests over corruption, unemployment and poor public services broke out on Tuesday.

At least five people have been killed and nearly 300 wounded, according to Iraqi security and medical officials.


6:10 p.m.

Iraqi officials say two more protesters have been killed and 82 wounded amid gunfire and clashes in Baghdad, raising the number of overall deaths in two days of protests to five.

A security official and a medical official say the deaths occurred in the Tayyaran and al-Khilani squares in central Baghdad when security forces opened fire at protesters.

They spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

The deaths bring the number of people killed Wednesday to three, and the overall number of protesters killed since Tuesday to five.

The economically-driven protests organized on social media have spread to provinces south and north of Baghdad despite a massive security dragnet.

—Qassim Abdul-Zahra in Baghdad;


6 p.m.

Iraqi security forces have fired live ammunition and used tear gas to disperse demonstrators in Baghdad, killing one person and wounding six in renewed protests after violent confrontations between protesters and police a day earlier.

Protests on Tuesday had left two dead — one in Baghdad and another in the city of Nasiriyah — and over 200 wounded.

On Wednesday, hundreds of heavily armed security forces and riot police deployed on Baghdad streets, blocking all intersections leading to a major central square to prevent larger protests.

Parked armored personnel carriers and SUVs stood guard and by mid-afternoon, residents said authorities had shut down social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.