By Ami al-Saadi
BAGHDAD (AA) – Four Iraqi protesters were killed by security forces' gunfire while dispersing a demonstration in central Baghdad on Thursday, according to a medical source.
Dozens of people were also injured by live bullets, the source who works for Baghdad Health Directorate said on condition of anonymity due to restriction on speaking to media outlets.
The developments come hours after Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi ordered security forces to "enforce the law" and arrest those he called "saboteurs" who cut off roads.
At least 260 people have been killed and thousands injured in the second wave of protests in Iraq since last week.
More than 230 people were killed in the first wave of anti-government protests in October.
Popular anger has been simmering in Iraq in recent years due to rising unemployment and rampant corruption. Many people in the country have limited access to basic services such as electricity and clean water.
According to World Bank figures, Iraq's youth unemployment is around 25%. It also ranks the 12th most-corrupt country in the world according to several transparency organizations.
* Writing by Mahmoud Barakat