Shafaq News/ Protesters hurled rocks and police fired tear gas in street battles on al-Jumhuriyah (Republic) bridge that leads to Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, as tension inflames on the third anniversary of the anti-establishment protests that took place in October 2019.
Riot police fired tear gas to try to disperse protesters throwing rocks at them and nearing the Green Zone after knocking off an iron gate put up on al-Jumhuriyah bridge that leads to the ultra-secure area housing state institutions and diplomatic missions.
At least ten protesters suffered from asphyxiation, a source told Shafaq News Agency.
"Some security officers sustained wounds from the stones hurled by the protesters," the source said.
Shafaq News Agency correspondent to Baghdad said that the security forces retreated to the midpoint of the bridge when the protesters managed to knock off the gate into the Tigris river and walk through the barriers placed at its beginning.
Since the early morning hours, protesters thronged the streets of the Iraqi capital to mark the third anniversary of the October 2019 protest.
The demonstrators were seen holding banners and chanting ingenious slogans feting the October protests and denouncing the ruling elite in a mix of defiance and humor.
Followers of the powerful Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr featured the gathering with their matched black outfits.
Security authorities ramped up security ahead of the demonstrations slated to take place today. Flat lorries were seen bringing blast walls during the night to be erected around the Green Zone. In some sections, more than one line was put up. Training and deployment drills have been taking place around the heavily fortified Green Zone relentlessly over the past week.
Since yesterday, Iraqi security forces have spread heavily around Baghdad's Green Zone, bracing for a new wave of protests tomorrow on the anniversary of the October (Teshreen) protests.
The movement started on Oct. 1, 2019, demanding political reform, the prime minister's resignation, and an end to foreign interference in Iraqi matters. The broad protests in most southern cities, resulting in over 600 dead and thousands wounded, did lead to the resignation of former Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi.
Iraqi activists have been calling for nationwide protests, in order to re-raise the Tishreen Movement demands for political system reform.
Followers of Shiite popular cleric Muqtada Sadr were also lobbying for the October demonstrations. Al-Sadr's Saraya al-Salam (The Peace Companies) faction has also been preparing to protect the demonstrators in several Baghdad areas.