BAGHDAD

Iraq’s highest judicial authority on Saturday vowed tougher penalties for those involved in attacks against protesters.

“Those involved in assaults on protesting citizens will be punished with tougher penalties,” the Supreme Judicial Council said in a statement.

At least 70 demonstrators were killed by security forces and militias in the southern provinces of Najaf and Dhi Qar over the past two days.

Iraq has been rocked by mass protests since early October against poor living conditions and corruption. Protesters’ demands later spiraled into calls for dissolving the government of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi.

Read more: Iraqi judiciary vows tougher penalties amid protests