Amnesty calls for urgent end to 'bloodbath' in Iraq

An anti-government protester crouches down during ...

An anti-government protester crouches down during ...

Iraqi riot police fire tear gas to disperse anti-g...

Iraqi riot police fire tear gas to disperse anti-g...

Anti-government protesters set fire and close stre...

Anti-government protesters set fire and close stre...

Anti-government protesters set fire and close stre...

Anti-government protesters set fire and close stre...

Iraqi riot police fire tear gas to disperse anti-g...

Iraqi riot police fire tear gas to disperse anti-g...

BAGHDAD (AP) — Amnesty International is calling on Iraqi authorities to immediately rein in security forces after at least six protesters were killed in central Baghdad amid a widening security crackdown.

The deaths, including five by live ammunition, occurred a day earlier during a police operation to clear demonstrations from several bridges and streets near Tahrir Square. In the southern city of Basra, eight protesters have been killed since Thursday.

Amnesty International said there has been at least 264 protester deaths across Iraq in just over a month and called it a "bloodbath."

The statement called on authorities to end the "unlawful use of lethal force" and said those responsible for it must be brought to justice.

The leaderless, economically driven protests engulfing Baghdad and the south are targeting Iraq's entire political class.