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Several wounded as Iraq police clash with protesters

Several wounded as Iraq  police clash with protesters
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Baghdad (AFP): Iraqi security forces fired tear gas and rubber-coated bullets on Saturday on protesters who attempted to march on Baghdad-'s fortified...

Baghdad (AFP): Iraqi security forces fired tear gas and rubber-coated bullets on Saturday on protesters who attempted to march on Baghdad's fortified Green Zone to press demands for electoral reform, police said.

Most of the thousands of protesters gathered in the heart of the capital were supporters of populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who is making a fresh push for change ahead of provincial elections due in September.

The protest started peacefully and several speakers addressed the large crowd in Tahrir Square before some of the demonstrators broke away and attempted to break through a security cordon guarding the main road to the Green Zone.

"The demonstrators tried to cross Jumhuriya Bridge, the security forces fired tear gas to stop them but they insisted," a senior police official said.

Another police official said at least 11 protesters were wounded by rubber-coated bullets or tear gas canisters when the violence erupted, while dozens were also treated for breathing difficulties.

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