Baghdad: The Iraqi capital Baghdad has been placed under curfew following the nationwide protests which have called for more accountability from elected leaders.
As thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Baghdad on Friday, Iraqi security forces blocked Bab al-Sharji Square and tightened the security measures, a Press TV correspondent reported.
Most of the gatherings appeared to proceed peacefully, though there were sporadic reports of violence in some areas.
Earlier, top clerics including Grant Ayatollah Sayed Ali al-Sistani, al-Yaqubi and Sayed Muqtada al-Sader had warned the Iraqi people not to participate in the protests, stressing that terrorists are awaiting such opportunities to launch their attacks against the protesters.
“Terrorist groups become more active in such events, but the Iraqi security forces are well prepared to manage security issues during the protest,” Oassim Atta of the Baghdad Operations Command told Press TV.
People say such protests are not against the current government as they are only calling on government to eradicate unemployment and tackle corruption, instability and shoddy public services in the country.
“Peaceful demonstrations show that people support the government and only want better services. I think that the government will understand the point,” one man told Press TV.
Experts believe the current government, which is a new administration, needs more time to make achievements, but such protests may act as a catalyst for reform.
“The Iraqi government is an elected one, and it has started to be active but it needs more time to mark an achievement,” political expert Abbas al-Hannan told Press TV.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki stated that the Iraqi constitution guarantees the right of protest for all citizens, but urged people not to give terrorists any opportunity to destabilize the security in Iraq.
By Press TV