Students join Iraq protests as clashes kill 3 demonstrators

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An anti-government protester prepares to throw a tear gas canister fired by Iraq security forces during a demonstration, in Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, Oct. 28, 2019. Protests have resumed in Iraq after a wave of anti-government protests earlier this month were violently put down. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

BAGHDAD – Thousands of students joined Iraq's anti-government protests on Monday, as clashes with security forces firing tear gas canisters killed at least three demonstrators and wounded more than 100.

The students skipped classes at several universities and secondary schools in Baghdad and across Iraq's majority-Shiite south on Monday to take part in the protests, despite the government ordering schools and universities to operate normally.

One of those killed was a 22-year-old female medical student, the first woman to be killed since the protests began earlier this month. Seventeen students were among the wounded.

Authorities later announced a curfew from midnight to 6 a.m. in the capital, as renewed protests there and across the south raged for a fourth day. A senior security official estimated that 25,000 protesters took part in the demonstration in the capital.

In a separate development, three rockets struck a large military base north of Baghdad that houses U.S. and Iraqi forces, according to another senior Iraqi security official. The official said there were no casualties, and that the attack is being investigated. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.

The demonstrations are fueled by anger at corruption, economic stagnation and poor public services. Despite its vast oil wealth, Iraq suffers from high unemployment and crumbling infrastructure, with frequent power outages that force many to rely on private generators.

On Monday, parliament voted to cancel all privileges and bonuses for the president, the prime minister, the Cabinet, parliament members and other senior officials. But lawmakers later pointed out that the move was unlikely to be implemented because the legislature did not actually amend the law governing such matters.

In any case, the move seemed unlikely to satisfy the protesters, who are calling for far more sweeping change.