BAGHDAD, Nov. 2 (Xinhua) -- The Iraqi authorities said on Saturday that up to 120 demonstrators were wounded when Iraqi forces tried to disperse protesters outside a major port on the Gulf in Iraq's southern province of Basra.
A statement by the Iraqi Independent High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR) said that a clash occurred outside the gate of Um Qasr when riot police tried to open a main road leading to the port after the demonstration blocked it.
A report by the IHCHR teams at the site said that the 120 protesters were either suffocated by tear gas, or wounded by shooting of tear gas canisters, in addition to live bullets in the air, according to the statement.
The wounded protesters were admitted to nearby Um Qasr hospital for treatment, the statement said.
The commission called on the demonstrators to avoid vital facilities and property, especially the ports which are the most important resources of the economy of the Iraqi people, the statement added.
It also called on the security forces to take maximum restraint in dealing with the demonstrators and to refrain from the use of weapons that cause physical damage among the demonstrators, it said.
Demonstrations are still ongoing in Baghdad and other cities in central and southern Iraq for the ninth successive day over comprehensive reform, corruption, improvement of public services and job opportunities.
Early last month, massive protests erupted in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad and other central and southern provinces for similar reasons.