Security forces have repeatedly turned their weapons on fellow Iraqis this past week, killing at least 87 and wounding more than 2,000, according to the toll as of Saturday. People had taken to the streets in Baghdad and across southern Iraq to protest widespread government corruption, unemployment and a lack of basic services such as electricity.

The Iraqi authorities lifted a dayslong curfew in Baghdad on Saturday that many antigovernment protesters had ignored. Parliament was set to meet to discuss to discuss protesters’ demands, while senior Iraqi officials, including the prime minister and Parliament speaker, were set to meet with protesters.

The harsh response by the security services suggested, however, that they had been given leeway by the leadership to take any steps necessary to halt the protests, signaling how ill-prepared the government was to respond to the demands of its own citizens.