The Iraqi security forces dispersed the crowd of demonstrators who gathered near one of the gates of the Green Zone in Baghdad, which contains government headquarters and diplomatic missions, and forced them to go to Tahrir Square, the center of the protests in the capital.
Eyewitnesses reported in Al-Alawi area near the Green Zone that clashes took place between the demonstrators and riot police while their members tried to keep the demonstrators away from the checkpoints that were set up on the road leading to the Green Zone.
The Anadolu Agency quoted a police officer as saying that "skirmishes occurred in Allawi neighborhood between demonstrators and riot police."
He added that the protesters threw stones at riot police, and the latter responded by chasing them with batons in the neighborhood's streets.
The source indicated that the demonstrators then continued their way towards Tahrir Square, noting that no injuries were detected between the two parties.
The spokesman for the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Major General Yahya Rasoul, called on the demonstrators not to demonstrate outside Tahrir Square in Baghdad.
Iraqis gathered by thousands in Tahrir Square (Reuters)
since the morning hours
of demonstrators flocked to Tahrir Square (in the center of the capital) to mark the first anniversary of what is known as the "October Uprising", to demand political reforms, to eliminate corruption, and to hold the killers of the protesters accountable.
The security forces deployed on the Al-Sinak Bridge and the areas surrounding the Green Zone heavily, and the roads and bridges leading to it were closed.
The Baghdad Operations Command of the Ministry of Defense said - in a statement - on Saturday that it had issued directives to the security forces to prevent the carrying and use of weapons and live ammunition in the areas of the demonstrations.
Watch how freedoms are being suppressed. This is what happened in the suppression of the peaceful demonstrators in Alawi Square a little while ago by the riot police forces # Baghdad # Youth_Change
Our channel on
: https://t.co/EcS5WI8hxB pic.twitter.com/MSwimBKjhu
Youth of Change # Iraq (@YcIraq) October 25, 2020
From outside Baghdad
From outside Baghdad
, buses arrived in Baghdad carrying protesters from cities and regions in central and southern Iraq.
To participate in the revival of the popular movement, crossing hundreds of kilometers interspersed with security barriers, then they walked on foot to reach central Baghdad, after the security forces prevented cars and buses from approaching Tahrir Square and the areas near the Green Zone.
And in Nasiriyah (the center of Dhi Qar province in southern Iraq), activists gathered in Al-Haboubi Square to commemorate the first anniversary of the protests.
The security forces imposed tight security measures around the sit-in square and on the roads leading to it.
The demonstrators confirmed their demands for political change and accountability for the killers of the demonstrators.
The demonstrators and sheikhs of the tribes of Dhi Qar had previously threatened, in a joint statement, to dissolve Parliament and go to an emergency government if their demands were not implemented.
Prime Minister @MAKadhimi: We are commemorating the 25th of October, to remind ourselves that the people have original rights, a clear voice, a courageous stance, and a vision, and that the ruler's job is to listen to the voice of his people.
- Media Office of the Prime Minister (@IraqiPMO) October 24, 2020
and the Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi called on the demonstrators to beware of the attempts by parties - he did not name them - to get the demonstrations out of their peacefulness, calling on the security forces to protect the demonstrations. Popular protests on 25 October last year.
In his speech, Al-Kazemi called on the demonstrators to form human bands to protect the peaceful protest, and to confront attempts to spread sedition among the demonstrators.
He stressed that the Iraqi social movement has drawn up a road map that was recognized by everyone, and that he and the government are proceeding with it.
For its part, the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Iraq called today on the demonstrators to adhere to peace, and called on the security forces to provide protection for them during the commemoration of the first anniversary of the start of the protest demonstrations.
Last August, the Iraqi government announced the killing of 565 protesters and security personnel since October 2019 during protests in various regions of the country.
The popular movement was launched for many reasons, including the rejection of corruption, calls for political and economic reforms, and it succeeded in overthrowing the previous government headed by Adel Abdul Mahdi.