Security tightens as thousands protest in Baghdad

Thousands of protesters gathered in central Baghdad’s Tahrir square on Friday, as Iraqi forces imposed tight security measures around an area that saw deadly clashes recently.

Demonstrators loyal to prominent Shiite cleric, Moqtada al-Sadr, were demanding a revamp of the electoral system.

Police and army forces closed roads and bridges around the area and searched anyone getting inside the square.

On Saturday, five people were killed and over 300 injured when security forces used force to disperse the pro-reform rally.

Friday’s protest came one day after a car bombing in Baghdad claimed by the radical Sunni Islamic State militia killed 45 people in Baghdad, the deadliest attack this year.

The Iraqi government is engaged in a U.S.-backed military campaign to recapture Mosul, Islamic State’s key stronghold in the northern part of the country, which the group seized in mid-2014.

Iraqi forces had in January regained Mosul’s eastern section and are preparing for a new offensive aimed at wresting the western part of the city from Islamic State control.