2 killed, 23 wounded in protests in southern Iraq

Iraqis take part in ongoing anti-government protests in the central city of Karabala

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has also slammed the protests in Iraq and Lebanon, labeling them conspiracies by the U.S. and others.

In the retaliation, the security forces opened fire, that left 3 dead and 12 injured.

More than 260 protesters have been killed since the anti-establishment demonstrations erupted in early October in Baghad and several southern cities. In the protest that took place on Sunday, the activists climbed on the concrete barriers, burnt tires, threw stones, pulled down Iranian flag and replaced it with an Iraqi flag.

The protests, which began in October, are rooted in grievances about government services, but have expanded into demands for the toppling of the entire political class.

"The youth have lived through economic hardships, explosions, oppression".

Abdul Mahdi appealed to protesters on Sunday night to suspend their movement, which he said had achieved its goals and was hurting the economy. Abdelmahdi said that he was willing to resign if the political parties came to an agreement to succeed him, something that for now seems far away.

He differentiated between peaceful protesters who have turned the demonstrations into "popular festivals" and "outlaws" who he said had used demonstrators as "human shields" while attacking security forces.

Protesters have also shut the highway to the Umm Qasr port, one of the main conduits for food, medicine and other imports into Iraq.

Anger against Iran has escalated, particularly in the southern provinces where Tehran has the most influence. It was organized in defiance of the Iraqi military, which attempted to clamp down on the protests by imposing a nightly curfew.

Elsewhere in the south, about 5,000 protesters gathered in the city of Diwaniya, blocking roads.

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On Monday, he held meetings with senior judicial and security officials at the Federal Police Headquarters to discuss ways to restore stability while preserving the right to protest and protecting private property, according to a government statement.

A mounting death toll in Baghdad and across southern Iraq coupled with reimposed internet restrictions sparked concerns on Tuesday that anti-government protests would once again trigger chaos.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo advised the Iraqi government to "listen to the legitimate demands made by the Iraqi people", while cautioning all sides-the security forces and their victims alike-to avoid "violence".

An aerial view shows Iraqi protesters gathering at Baghdad's Tahrir square near al-Jumhuriya bridge which leads to the high-security Green Zone across the Tigris River, during ongoing anti-government demonstrations in the Iraqi capital on November 2, 2019.

In Baghdad, protesters blocked dozens of roads as schools and courts remained closed amid a strike by teachers and lawyers, Al Jazeera's Natasha Ghoneim, reporting from Baghdad, said on Tuesday.

Many were shot dead from rooftops by "unidentified snipers", the probe found. In a televised said that "they have already satisfied numerous claims".

Protesters in Karbala last week carried banners reading, "Iran is the reason for the catastrophe".

Protesters see Iran as the main power behind the Shia political parties that have wielded power in Iraq since the US -led invasion.

The demonstrators were demanding that Iran stop interfering in Iraq's internal affairs.

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