AT LEAST 11 people were killed yesterday as thousands marched on government buildings and clashed with security forces in Iraq's "Day of Rage".
Security forces trying to push back crowds opened fire, killing nine demonstrators in Northern Iraq. In the western Anbar province two people were shot and killed in a protest.
The protests were fuelled by anger over corruption, chronic unemployment and shoddy public services from the Shiite-dominated government. Shiite religious leaders discouraged people from taking part, greatly diminishing the Shiite participation and the overall size of the crowd in a country where such religious edicts hold great sway.
The centre of Baghdad was virtually locked down yesterday, with soldiers searching protesters entering Liberation Square and closing off the plaza and side streets with razor wire.
The heavy security presence reflected the official concerns that demonstrations there could gain traction as they did in Egypt and Tunisia, then spiral out of control.