Nov. 29 (UPI) -- After weeks of violent protests in Iraq, Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi announced Friday that he will submit his resignation to the Iraqi Parliament.
At least 40 people were killed overnight in protests, bringing the overall death total of more than 320 people throughout Iraq. The demonstrations started in Baghdad on Oct. 1 and spread across the country over jobs, basic services and government corruption.
Abdul-Mahdi, who originally said he would resign in October, faced increased pressure after powerful Iraqi cleric Ayatollah Alial-Sistani Friday called on Parliament to end its support for him and his administration.
"As a response to the call [of Ayatollah Alial-Sistani] to facilitate and speed up its implementation as soon as possible, I will submit a formal letter for a resignation request to the current prime minister to the honorable parliament for the parliament to review its options," Abdul-Mahdi said in a statement.
While protesters blamed Iraqi's political parties on its economic problems, the government tried to control the demonstrations by imposed curfews, Internet blackouts, and lethal force. Officials claimed they only used weapons when attacked, which has been disputed by protesters.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a report Friday the overall number of verified deaths of demonstrators since protests started stands at 354 with another 8,104 injured.
"We are deeply disturbed by the continued killing and wounding of protesters in Iraq, including the latest casualties during the extremely violent events over the past two days in Nassariya, during which, according to verification carried out by UNAMI human rights staff, at least 24 people were killed and more than 210 injured," said Marta Hurtado, a commission representative.