Middle East News
Anti-government protests in Iraq amid tight security
Sep 9, 2011, 14:41 GMT
Baghdad - Hundreds of Iraqis gathered Friday in central Baghdad to demonstrate against the government, amid a heavy deployment of military forces.
Frustrations in Iraq have risen in the past few months over the government's performance and alleged corruption.
Security forces encircled the protesters to prevent them from reaching the Green Zone that houses the government headquarters and several foreign embassies.
Scuffles took place between the protesters and those opposing their demonstration, without the police's intervention, according to witnesses. There were no immediate reports of injuries.
Meanwhile, police and army forces barred people in the south-eastern city of Kut from demonstrating. Saad Jabbar, an organizer of the aborted protest, told the German Press Agency dpa: 'Police told us there is an order from the Interior Ministry banning protests without approval in advance. But the authorities had already refused to license our demonstration.'
However, dozens defied heavy security in the southern city of Karbala and took to the streets to protest what they said was a severe shortage of basic services.
People also protested in the southern city of Basra, and Kirkuk in the north.