Accessibility links

Breaking News

Iraqi Protesters Seize Ground in Central Baghdad

Iraqis gather at the site of a bomb explosion near Baghdad's Tahrir Square, Nov. 16, 2019.
Iraqis gather at the site of a bomb explosion near Baghdad's Tahrir Square, Nov. 16, 2019.

Protesters pushed closer Saturday to a protected area in central Baghdad that houses parliament and several foreign embassies, officials said.

Iraqi security and medical officials said protesters seized control of the strategic Khilani Square and part of a bridge that leads to the Green Zone security area that includes Baghdad's seat of government.

Also, a protester was shot dead early Saturday in northwest Baghdad, security officials and activists told media outlets. The officials requested to remain anonymous in accordance with regulations.

A late Friday bomb blast at Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the protest movement, killed at least three people and wounded 18 others, and another blast Friday night in the southern city of Nasiriyah wounded 18 people.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the explosions.

The protests began in October because of growing frustration over a lack of jobs and public services. They appeared to wane at one point, but demonstrators have since demanded the ouster of Iraq's ruling class and government reform to root out corruption that deepened after the toppling of dictator Saddam Hussein in the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

More than 300 people have been killed in Baghdad and southern Iraq since the protests began.

  • 16x9 Image

    VOA News

    The Voice of America provides news and information in more than 40 languages to an estimated weekly audience of over 326 million people. Stories with the VOA News byline are the work of multiple VOA journalists and may contain information from wire service reports.