Iraqi security forces killed at least two protesters Friday during clashes in Baghdad's Green Zone, Agence France-Presse reported. Fifty-seven people were wounded as forces also used water cannons and sound bombs against the crowd.
The two men, AFP reported, died of live rounds. They were supporters of the political insurgent and Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, whose movement has clashed with the Iraqi government over the past several months.
"Peaceful protesters were exposed to the fire of live and rubber bullets and tear gas," one man told AFP at the men's funeral in the holy city of Najaf.
In the latest episode of political and violent turmoil facing the country, the protests of the Sadr movement have been met with harsh crackdowns by state security. Last month, Sadr supporters penetrated the Green Zone, a fortified governmental hub, and a few managed to briefly storm the office of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's office, AFP reported. Weeks before that, they stormed the Parliament.
"Storming state institutions ... cannot be accepted, the prime minister said. Meanwhile, Sadr said Friday the protests would continue, or else "the revolution will take another form."
Intrigue in Abadi's own party and gridlock over legislation meant to curb corruption have left the country politically, and increasingly militarily, chaotic.