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Supporters of Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr demonstrate in Baghdad, Iraq, on Feb. 11.
Supporters of Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr demonstrate in Baghdad, Iraq, on Feb. 11.

Iraqi Police Fire Tear Gas at Pro-Sadr Protesters

Iraqi Police Fire Tear Gas at Pro-Sadr Protesters

Iraqi security forces fired tear gas on Saturday at thousands of supporters of powerful Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr demonstrating near Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone—a cluster of embassies and government buildings—to press for reforms.

Thousands of people had gathered to demand an overhaul of a commission that supervises elections ahead of a provincial vote due in September, Aljazeera reported.

Riot police fired the tear gas when the crowd tried to move toward the Green Zone, which also houses international organizations and the homes of some prominent politicians.

The protest organizers said about two dozen demonstrators choked on the gas, but no one was seriously injured or taken to hospital. Live TV footage showed young men running away, as white smoke filled Tahrir Square in downtown Baghdad.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called on the demonstrators to remain peaceful and to “abide by the law”.

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