Hundreds of Iraqi protesters stayed in central Tahrir Square in Baghdad on Sunday. They resisted a bloody crackdown that killed at least 60 people over the weekend and a raid by security forces overnight to disperse them.
Despite the rapidly increasing death toll, protesters continued to gather in the capital, with 63 killed according to a semi-official Iraqi High Commission on Human Rights.
"We are here to overthrow the whole government to clean them all out!" A protester who had wrapped the Iraqi tricolor around his head was quoted by AFP as saying, "We do not want one of them, not Halbousi, not." [Prime Minister Adel] Abdul Mahdi. We want to overthrow the regime, "he added.
The Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service was deployed in Baghdad on Sunday to protect major state buildings.
One statement said," To protect state buildings from undisciplined elements by: Security forces are involved in protecting protests and demonstrators. "
On Saturday, security forces fired tear gas and the fire opened thousands of demonstrators trying to reach the green zone of Baghdad, which is home to government offices and embassies.
Three protesters were killed when they were shot with tear gas canisters in Baghdad, while three others were shot dead in the southern city of Nasiriyah after they attacked a victim The local official's house.
The protests are a continuation of the economic-driven Demonstrations that started and ended in early October when the security forces began to use live ammunition. Since then, at least 1
The ongoing turmoil has broken almost two years of relative stability in Iraq, which has seen an invasion of USA and protracted battles in recent years, including against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant ( ISIL or ISIS).
The demonstrations exposed the prime minister's one-year government to Abdul Mahdi's biggest challenge so far, to address the grievances of the demonstrators by reformulating his cabinet and presenting a package of reforms to Mahdi Administration, but also the wider political establishment of Iraq, which they claim has not improved the lives of the country's citizens.
Many see the political elite as one or other of the two main Iraqi subordinates, the US and Iran, powers that they believe are more concerned with regional influence than the needs of ordinary Iraqis ,
Almost three-fifths of the 40 million people in Iraq live on less than six dollars a day. World Bank figures show that, despite the country's fifth largest proven oil reserves in the world.
Al Jazeera and news agencies