Iraqi Protesters Hold Baghdad Square After Night of Clashes

Video of a protester holding an Iraqi flag while apparently being gunned down went viral over the weekend

A demonstrator reacts during a protest over corruption, lack of jobs, and poor services, in Baghdad, Iraq October 27, 2019
REUTERS/Wissm al-Okili

Iraqi anti-government protesters are still in Baghdad's Tahrir Square after a night of clashes with security forces who failed to evict them.

Elite counterterrorism forces and state-backed militias meanwhile deployed across the capital Sunday to protect political party offices and militia headquarters.

Iraqis have launched two waves of mass protests this month, calling for the resignation of a government they blame for corruption and poor public services.

Iraqi officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to brief reporters, say at least 70 people have been killed since the protests resumed Friday, including 17 in Baghdad.

The protests have been concentrated in Baghdad and the Shiite south and are directed at the Shiite-dominated government. Protesters have also vented anger at Iran, which has strong influence over the government.

Video of a protester holding an Iraqi flag while apparently being gunned down went viral over the weekend. The video shows other protesters coming to the aid of the man who appears to have been shot and one protester picks up the flag. 

Iraq suspended Saudi Arabian state-owned broadcasters Al-Hadath TV and Al Arabiya, Al-Hadath said on Saturday, amid renewed anti-government protests that saw scores killed over two days in clashes with security forces and militia groups.

"The Iraqi government suspends the work of Al-Hadath and Al Arabiya," Al-Hadath TV said on its news ticker while it carried footage of the protests.

Over 60 people were killed on Friday and Saturday.