Iraqi protesters engulfed in tear gas during Baghdad uproar

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.

A protester attempts to throw back a tear gas canister at security forces.
REUTERS/Ahmed Saad
Protesters called for the end of Iraq’s government.
REUTERS/Khalid al-Mousily
Protesters treated a wounded man during clashes with Iraqi security forces in Baghdad, Iraq.
REUTERS/Ahmed Saad
An Iraqi protester hurls a tear gas canister thrown by security forces.
REUTERS/Ahmed Saad
Protesters closed a bridge leading to Tahrir Square in Baghdad, Iraq.
AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP via Getty Images

The demonstrations nevertheless continued for months, ultimately forcing Mahdi from office.

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