Thousands of Iraqi students took to the streets across several provinces on Monday to join ongoing anti-government demonstrations.
Protesters have been rallying since Friday, demanding the government's resignation, the dissolving of parliament and early elections.
The rallies have been met with tear gas, hot water, sound bombs and batons as security forces try to disperse the crowds. The crackdown has killed 74 people and injured 3,654, according to the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights.
Students in the capital Baghdad as well as other provinces including the southern Najaf and Karbala were carrying Iraqi flags as they joined protest squares, where many Iraqis have been camping, witnesses said.
Military spokesperson Abdul-Karim Khalaf criticized the students' involvement in the protests, saying it puts their safety at risk.
Parliament is expected to hold a session on Monday to discuss the protesters' demands, after Lawmakers failed to meet Saturday due to a lack of quorum.
‘I think our demands are clear,’ protester Ayman al-Saadi, 26, said, vowing that demonstrators will not leave the square even if the government uses violence to push them out.
‘The high number of deaths and injured reflects the government's failure to assess the situation on the ground and to understand that we are moving towards change, with no other alternatives,’ he added.
Protests have roiled the oil-rich country in two waves this month as demonstrators decried corruption, lack of jobs and poor access to electricity and clean water.
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