NEW YORK (
) -- At least five deaths were reported in Iraq after clashes broke out between protesters and security forces on Friday, as demonstrators sought to burn down government offices in several cities.
Protesters chant anti-Iraqi government slogans during a protest at Tahrir Square in Baghdad on Friday.
Two demonstrators were killed Friday morning after Iraqi police forces opened fire on protesters in Mosul, Iraq,
reported, when the protesters stormed and set fire to local government offices. More than 20 people were wounded in the clash,
said, citing Iraqi police.
Security forces were using tear gas, and water cannons to disperse crowds that gathered in cities across the nation.
Three protesters were killed and 12 others were wounded in Hawijah, a town near Kirkuk, when Iraqi forces shot at hundreds of protesters who were throwing stones at troops, Iraqi Army Capt. Mohammed Al Angood said.
Thousands of protesters gathered in Baghdad's Tahrir Square on Friday in Iraq's "day of rage" to rally against corruption in local governments.
While the upheaval may have been inspired by the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, many Iraqi protesters aren't calling for the complete removal of the Iraqi government. Instead, they are rallying against corruption and high unemployment, demanding improved human rights as well as an end to food, job and power shortages. The lack of clean drinking water also has prompted some unrest.
"We are here for change, to improve the situation of the country. The education system is bad. The health system is also bad. Services are going from bad to worse," 27-year-old Lina Ali said on a protest youth group page on Facebook. "There is no drinkable water, no electricity. Unemployment is growing, which can push the youth toward terrorist activities."
On Thursday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki urged against Friday's planned massive protests, repeating the orders he gave last week in a news conference in Baghdad during which he advised the people and the military to remain calm.
"The demonstrations are protected and here I say that the security forces are not allowed to use any force against any demonstrations," Maliki said. "I welcome those who demonstrate peacefully for their legitimate rights, but I am not in favor of those who exploit those claims to incite riots. The perpetrators will be brought to court and they will be punished."
Basra Governor Shaltagh Abboud submitted his resignation on Friday after protesters gathered outside his office calling for his immediate ouster,
The Washington Post
reported. Protesters forced the resignation of the entire city council in Fallujah as well.
Now the Iraqi government is imposing a curfew on the citizens in Basra until 6 a.m. local time on Saturday after Friday's clashes left 18 people wounded.
"Security forces have endured a lot from demonstrators. Many military and police officers were injured by stones thrown by demonstrators," Basra's head of the security Ali Ghanim Al Maliki told
--Written by Theresa McCabe in Boston.
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