Middle East

Police fire tear gas at protesters in Baghdad

  • Followers of Iraq's influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr chant slogans as they wave national flags during a demonstration against corruption in Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/ Karim Kadim)

    Followers of Iraq's influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr chant slogans as they wave national flags during a demonstration against corruption in Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/ Karim Kadim)  (The Associated Press)

  • Followers of Iraq's influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr chant slogans as they wave national flags during a demonstration against corruption in Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/ Karim Kadim)

    Followers of Iraq's influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr chant slogans as they wave national flags during a demonstration against corruption in Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/ Karim Kadim)  (The Associated Press)

  • Followers of Iraq's influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr chant slogans as they wave national flags during a demonstration against corruption in Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/ Karim Kadim)

    Followers of Iraq's influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr chant slogans as they wave national flags during a demonstration against corruption in Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/ Karim Kadim)  (The Associated Press)

Iraqi police are firing tear gas at anti-government protesters in the capital, Baghdad.

The protests Saturday were called by influential Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who is demanding that local elections be held on schedule this year. Some Iraqi politicians have called for a delay due to the ongoing fight against the Islamic State group.

Al-Sadr has been a vocal critic of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, and last year protests that included many of his followers breached the highly fortified Green Zone twice.

Al-Abadi has called for protesters to remain peaceful so that the country's security forces can focus on the IS fight, according to a statement released from his office.

The Green Zone is home to most of Iraq's foreign embassies and the seats of Iraq's government.