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Iraq authorities open roads around Tahrir Square, call for peaceful protests

Published: Updated:

Baghdad Operations Command announced on Saturday the opening of Tayeran Square near Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, where a bomb placed under a vehicle detonated in the protest-hit country late Friday killing at least one person.

A statement by the Baghdad Operations Command received by the Iraqi News Agency read: “For the purpose of opening the way for the movement of citizens, the Baghdad Operations Command opened the roads around Tayeran Square and al-Khulani heading toward al-Jumariyah Street.”

They also appealed to demonstrators in Tahrir Square “to maintain peaceful demonstrations in the areas of Al-Khulani and Sinak Bridge, and to protect public and private facilities.”

The Iraqi News Agency also reported that protesters closed the entrance gate of the Majnoon oil field in Iraq’s Basra on Saturday. It stated that the main demand of protesters at the Umm Qasr port and the Majnoon oil field is employment, adding that the management of the oil field had promised protesters to see to their demands.

In 2018, Royal Dutch Shell exited the Majnoon oilfield in southern Iraq and handed over its operations to the state-run Basra Oil Co.

Security forces fired live bullets at protesters in Baghdad's Khulani Square on Friday as they sought to push them back to the main camp at Tahrir Square, part of a government tactic to confine the unrest.

The mass protests, which began in Baghdad on October 1 and spread through southern Iraq, are an eruption of public anger against a ruling elite seen as enriching itself off the state and serving foreign powers – above all Iran – as many Iraqis languish in poverty without jobs, healthcare or education.