Curfews and internet blockages have been imposed in parts of Iraq, as officials react to mass protests against unemployment, government corruption and lack of basic services.
Authorities ordered curfews in the capital of Baghdad, and in three southern cities of Nasiriya, Amara and Hilla. The restrictions will remain in place until further notice.
In multiple cities, clashes between protestors and security forces have turned violent. At least eight people have died and more than 300 left injured this week, said Ali Akram al-Bayati, a member of the Independent High Commission for Human Rights of Iraq.
The nationwide protests, which appear to lack any organised leadership, are the largest since Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi took office a year ago.
The UN has called on the authorities to exercise restraint. “Every individual has the right to speak freely, in keeping with the law,” UN special representative Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert said.