The Iraqi capital witnessed demonstrations to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the start of the massive popular movement to demand the elimination of political and administrative corruption and the correction of the political process.
The demonstrations took place since the morning in the central and southern governorates of the country, with the participation of citizens of varying levels, cultural and social backgrounds, as well as their ages.
Activists from Al-Alawi area near the entrances to the Green Zone in central Baghdad confirmed to the BBC that the security forces present there dispersed the demonstrators by force, which pushed them to withdraw from the Alawi area towards Haifa Street.
A number of activists also reported that, on Sunday morning, the security forces prevented groups of demonstrators from other governorates from entering the capital.
Iraq witnessed popular protests in October last year complaining of the deteriorating economic and political conditions.
During the protests, bloody clashes took place between the demonstrators and the security forces, killing about 700 people on both sides, most of them protesters, in addition to thousands of wounded.
The protests continued for months, with thousands taking to the streets in Baghdad and the south of the country.
The government of former Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi was described as the worst in dealing with the demonstrations, and ultimately led to the resignation of his government, and the assignment of Intelligence Director Mustafa Al-Kazemi to form a new government last May.
Al-Kazemi preceded the Sunday demonstrations with a speech in which he called on the demonstrators to maintain their peace and cooperate with the security forces and to miss the opportunity for those who would try to divert their protests from their course and thwart them, as he put it.
The Ministerial Council for Iraqi National Security also affirmed, on Saturday, the right to peaceful demonstrations according to the Iraqi constitution and the importance of protecting public and private property in places where demonstrations take place.
A statement by the Iraqi government stated that the Prime Minister chaired an extraordinary meeting of the Ministerial Council for National Security, devoted to discussing measures to protect demonstrations.
On Saturday night, the demonstrators launched an initiative called “Flag and Rose” by presenting Iraqi flags and roses to the security forces, as an expression of their good intentions and showing respect for them and what they represent.
On Sunday’s demonstrations, some gathered in Tahrir Square, while others preferred to demonstrate at the entrances to the heavily fortified Green Zone where foreign embassies and state institutions are located.