Iraqi authorities close bridges, roads after violent Baghdad protests

Iraqi authorities tightened security in the capital Baghdad on Saturday, one day after protesters demanding reforms breached the city's heavily fortified Green Zone.

Security forces closed two major bridges and roads leading to the area, which houses parliament, government offices and foreign embassies in central Baghdad.

"Security measures have also been bolstered around the Green Zone and government buildings," a police official told dpa without giving details.

Anti-government protesters were absent from the area and major squares in Baghdad on Saturday.

On Friday, thousands of angry demonstrators stormed the area and briefly occupied the premier's office there.

Some protesters said security troops opened fire, killing at least three of them and injuring 22 others.

The government denied the accusation and imposed a curfew in Baghdad that was lifted late Friday.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi accused what he called "infiltrators" of seeking to foment chaos in Iraq, which is engaged in a US-backed fight against the Islamic State extremist militia.

Friday's breach of the Green Zone was the second in less than a month.

Iraq has for months been locked in a crisis over forming a government of independents. Major political blocs in parliament have repeatedly blocked the move.

Iraqi governments have been formed along political and sectarian lines since the US-led 2003 invasion that deposed Saddam Hussein - a system that critics say contributes to corruption and administrative incompetence.

Al-Abadi, a Shiite Muslim, has warned that the current row is to the advantage of the Islamic State radical Sunni organization that holds key areas in Iraq. 

Last update: Sat, 21/05/2016 - 23:01
Author: 

More from World

Watchdog: Over 60 per cent of east Aleppo captured by Syrian regime

More than 60 per cent of the rebel enclave of eastern Aleppo has now fallen to Syrian government forces, a...

Nine dead, 25 missing after fire at California warehouse party

At least nine people died and 25 were missing after a fire broke out during a party at a warehouse in the US state...

Car bombing in Baghdad kills at least four, injures 10

A car bomb exploded Saturday in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, killing at least four civilians, police and witnesses...

Egypt's top court revokes police power on protests

Egypt's top court has quashed power granted to police to ban street protests.

Indonesian police release seven accused of treason

Indonesian police on Saturday released seven people, including two former generals and a rock star, a day after they...