At least 30 people were killed and over 2,300 others injured in Iraq on Friday during anti-government protests that erupted on Friday near Baghdad's fortified Green Zone, according to Iraq’s rights commission.
In a statement, the Iraq High Commission for Human Rights said the fatalities were caused after clashes between protesters and security forces.
The clashes also left 2,312 people, including security forces, wounded, majority of which were due to tear gas.
Eight demonstrators were killed in Baghdad, while nine deaths were reported in Dhi Qar, nine in Maysan, three in Basra, and one in al-Muthanna, the statement said.
Local sources said the Sadrist movement's military wing, Saraya al-Salam, clashed with pro-Iranian Asaib Ehlilhak Movement militants in Dhi Qar governote.
Heavy weapons were used during the clashes, the sources claimed, but no further detail was provided.
Meanwhile, demonstrators have started staging a sit-in by setting up tents in Tahrir Square in Baghdad.
The army’s Joint Operations Command warned against adopting harsh measures for those who exploit demonstrations by killing or injuring people, setting fire to state and private properties and looting them.
“We call on demonstrators to not to allow such people joining the protests,” it said in a statement.
Over the past month, Iraq witnessed mass anti-corruption protests which left hundreds dead. Successive Iraqi governments have failed to put an end to nepotism and corruption as the current government struggles to end the mismanagement of public funds.
According to the World Bank figures, Iraq has a high rate of youth unemployment around 25%. It is also ranked as the 12th most-corrupt country in the world by several transparency organizations.
*Writing by Dilara HamitAnadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.