BAGHDAD - A leading international watchdog has called on the Iraqi government to investigate the excessive use of force against protesters demanding better services and jobs in the country's south.
In a report issued on Tuesday, the Human Rights Watch also urged that members of the security forces responsible for using lethal force at the rallies be disciplined or prosecuted.
Early this month, residents of oil-rich Basra province staged protests against the lack of jobs and poor services. The rallies spread to other provinces in Iraq's Shi'ite heartland.
The protests turned violent with security forces killing a number of protesters who attacked policemen and damaged government property.
HRW's Mideast chief Sarah Leah Whitson has warned that "as the government fails to address protester grievances, the danger of further bloody protests remains real."