Five more Iraqis die in protest bringing the death toll to over 300


At least five people have been killed after Iraqi security forces have opened fire on protesters in southern Iraq, amid ongoing anti-government demonstrations.

Two people died and some 50 others were injured near the Gulf port city of Basra on Sunday.Late on Saturday, three protesters were killed and more than 40 others injured in Nasiriya.

More than 300 people have died and thousands more have been injured, since violence began in October.

People are demanding an end to corruption, more jobs and better public services in the demonstrations, which have mostly affected southern Iraq and the capital Baghdad.

On Sunday demonstrators set fires outside government buildings, blocked bridges and shut schools in Nasiriya, about 300km (186 miles) south of Baghdad.

Officials had issued a directive to reopen schools – Sunday is the first day of the working week in Iraq – but demonstrators have ignored it.

Late on Saturday, medical authorities had to evacuate children from a hospital in central Nasiriya after tear gas spread into the building amid the violence, Reuters news agency reported.

Further south, near Basra, demonstrators have blocked main roads leading to the port at Umm Qasr.

Clashes also took place in the holy city of Karbala overnight, and about 35 people are thought to have been injured. (Source: BBC)