Hundreds of Iraqi protesters were engulfed by tear gas fired by security forces Saturday during a demonstration marking the third anniversary of anti-government protests in Baghdad, Iraq.
Amid concerns that the protests could spiral out of control, security officials installed checkpoints across Baghdad, shut down bridges and squares and closed some of the bridges leading to the fortified Green Zone where government headquarters and foreign embassies are housed, according to reports.
Protesters carried Iraqi flags and chanted, “We want to overthrow the regime!”
In 2019, protests broke out against then-prime minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s leadership. Demonstrators demanded a total overhaul of what they said was a corrupt government keeping the average Iraqi in poverty.
More than 560 people — some protesters and some security forces — were killed in the 2019 uprising, when Iraqi government operatives and some unidentified gunmen opened fire in a crackdown.
The demonstrations nevertheless continued for months, ultimately forcing Mahdi from office.