Iraqi officials and a member of the semi-official human rights commission say thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in two southern cities and have set fire to political party offices.
An Iraqi security official and the rights commission official say protesters in Nasiriyah have set ablaze the offices of two political parties in the restive southern city.
The two officials said the security forces responded with fire, but there was no immediate word on casualties. The officials described the protest as "very large." In another southern city, Diwaniyah, protesters marched toward local government offices. There were no reports of violence there.