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Protesters and police clash as thousands mark one year of Iraq demonstrations

Thousands of anti-government demonstrators took to the streets in the capital Baghdad, demanding an end to corruption and Iran’s intervention. Violence broke out between police and demonstrators.

Clashes broke out between Iraqi security forces and protesters in Iraq’s capital city Baghdad on Sunday, as thousands took part in nationwide demonstrations on the one-year anniversary of anti-government protests.

In Baghdad, security forces fired tear gas canisters to disperse crowds. Some protesters hurled rocks as well as Molotov cocktails at police.

Security forces “were armed with only clubs and batons,” Interior Ministry spokesman Saad Maan told press.

About 50 police and protesters were slightly injured, reported AFP news agency, citing police and medical sources.

Peaceful demonstrations went ahead in several cities in the south including Basra, Najaf and Nasiriyah.

The cross-sectarian, youth-led protest movement first broke out in October 2019.

Tens of thousands of Iraqis took to the streets to decry government corruption, poor services and high unemployment in Baghdad and the country’s south.

They also accuse Iraq’s ruling class of permitting Iranian intervention in their country.

During the last round of protests, about 600 protesters were killed and 30,000 wounded in nationwide clashes after Iraqi forces used live ammunition and tear gas to disperse crowds.

The protests helped usher in Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi in May, but he has yet to deliver on any major reforms.

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