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Rights group: Death toll from protests in Iraq hits 556

Iraqi people stage a protest against former communications minister Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi after Iraqi President Barham Salih has assigned Allawi to form new government, in Iraqi capital Baghdad on February 2, 2020 [Murtadha Al-Sudani / Anadolu Agency]
Iraqi people stage a protest against the new government, in Baghdad, Iraq on 2 February 2020 [Murtadha Al-Sudani/Anadolu Agency]

The death toll from anti-government protests in Iraq has risen to 556, Iraq's Independent High Commission for Human Rights said Sunday, Anadolu reports.

A statement from the press office of Ali al-Bayati, a representative of the commission, said those who doubt the figure should reveal their evidence.

Iraq has been roiled by mass protests since early October over poor living conditions and corruption, forcing Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi to resign in November but stay on as a caretaker head of state.

President Barham Salih designated former communications minister Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi as the new prime minister late Saturday and instructed him to form a new government.

According to Amnesty International and previous statements by Salih, more than 600 people have been killed during the protests.

The commission earlier announced that more than 17,000 people have been injured.

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