BAGHDAD -- The Latest on Iraq’s anti-government protests (all times local):
Iraqi security and medical officials say two protesters have been killed and at least 25 others wounded in ongoing confrontations with security forces in a central Baghdad square.
The officials say the protesters were killed when police fired live ammunition and tear gas at hundreds of protesters who removed concrete barriers and streamed into the Khilani Square, which has been at the center of clashes for the past days.
Friday’s deaths brought to three the number of protesters killed in the past 24 hours.
At least 320 people have been killed and thousands have been wounded since the unrest began on Oct. 1, when protesters took to the streets in the tens of thousands outraged by widespread corruption, lack of job opportunities and poor basic services despite the country’s oil wealth.
Iraqi medical and security officials say one protester was killed and over 40 were wounded in renewed clashes overnight in central Baghdad.
Protesters have called for large protests to take place on Friday as Iraqi authorities continue to clamp down on the anti-government demonstrations.
The officials say the clashes happened in the Khilani area, not far from the epicenter of the protest movement in Tahrir Square, hours after demonstrators celebrated Iraq’s 2-1 World Cup qualifier win over Iran.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity under regulations.
Amnesty International has said that security forces in Baghdad have fired tear gas grenades directly into the crowd. But Defense Minister Najah al-Shammari said Thursday an investigation has confirmed the tear gas cannisters responsible for protester deaths were not purchased by the government.