The protests, in which at least 27 have now been killed and over 600 wounded, began over unemployment and poor services but have escalated into calls for a change of government and pose one of the worst security challenges in years.
They appear to be independent of any political party and seemingly took the security forces by surprise.
At least 4,000 protesters gathered in Baghdad’s Tayaran Square and attempted to march onto the central Tahrir Square only to be met with open fire and heavy tear gas.
Police used live ammunition in the Zaafaraniya district of Baghdad, where a protester was shot dead, and there were protests in the northwestern Shula district.
Police said protesters had fired at them in the town of Rifaen near the southern city of Nassiriya where seven people were killed overnight and one more was killed on Thursday. Fifty people were wounded in Rifae, including five police, they said.
(Production: Maher Nazeh, Mostafa Salem)