Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Baghdad, as well as other major provinces of Iraq to mark the first anniversary of the mass anti-government demonstrations that demanded comprehensive corruption reforms.
Hundreds gathered in Banhdad’s al-Tahrir Square on Sunday morning to demand reforms and accountability for those who killed hundreds of protesters in previous months, reports Xinhua news agency.
Later in the day, dozens of protesters tried to remove concrete barriers on the nearby al-Jumhuriya and al-Sinak bridges, prompting security forces to fire tear gas to disperse the crowds, while some demonstrators threw Molotov cocktails on the troops.
A statement by the spokesman of the Commander-in-Chief of the Iraqi forces Yehia Rasool said that “a group of saboteurs infiltrated with the demonstrators and began throwing hand grenades on the security forces, wounding 32 security members, including two officers”.
During the demonstration, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi visited the headquarters of the Joint Operations Command and the Federal Police in Baghdad to discuss the protection of the demonstrators and to ensure their right to express their opinion, according to a statement issued by his media office.
Mass anti-government demonstrations have continued in Baghdad and other major cities since October 2019, demanding comprehensive reform, fight against corruption, better public services, and more job opportunities.
As part of his efforts to compensate the families of those killed in the protests across the country, al-Kadhimi decided to pay the salaries of 561 families of the victims.