BAGHDAD, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- The Iraqi Independent High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR) said on Thursday that nine demonstrators were killed and some 135 others wounded during five days of anti-government protests in Baghdad and Iraq's southern provinces.
A statement by IHCHR said that the commission's teams have registered, during the period from Nov. 16 to 20, the use of live and rubber bullets as well as tear gas, leaving six protesters killed in Baghdad, two in Dhi Qar province and one in Basra in southern Iraq.
IHCHR's teams also documented the injury of 135 demonstrators in Baghdad province near al-Ahrar Bridge because of the firing of tear gas canisters and sound bombs, while arresting up to 147 demonstrators, 28 of them were released so far, according to the statement.
IHCHR's teams documented burning tires and blocking roads by a number of demonstrators on main roads, leading to oil fields and some vital bridges in the province of Basra, and in the main street leading to the gate of Najaf airport, the statement said.
However, the commission praised the cooperation of security forces with the demonstrators in the formation of joint checkpoints to protect the demonstrators and maintain peaceful demonstrations in the provinces Najaf, Diwaniya, Babil, Muthanna, Maysan and Wasit, the statement added.
Earlier in the day, an official of Interior Ministry told Xinhua that clashes erupted late on Wednesday night when the riot police tried to reopen al-Ahrar Bridge, one of three bridges blocked by the protesters in downtown Baghdad, prompting the security forces to use smoke and tear gas canisters and fire bullets in the air to disperse the crowds.
The overnight clashes also erupted at the nearby al-Sinak Bridge, which is also blocked by the protesters, in an attempt to push the demonstration sites into the main protest stronghold of al-Tahrir Square, the official said.
The clashes resulted in the killing of three protesters and the wounding of more than 20 others in both bridges of al-Ahrar and al-Sinak, the official added.
Mass demonstrations have continued in capital Baghdad and other cities in central and southern Iraq since early October, demanding comprehensive reform, accountability for corruption, improvement of public services and job opportunities.