Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have rallied in the southern city of Basra to mark the ninth anniversary of the US-led invasion of their country.
Reports say thousands of men and women had travelled from across the country to take part in the demonstration organized by Sadr movement on Monday.
Iraqi demonstrators also demanded better living conditions and an end to unemployment and corruption across the country.
US-led forces invaded Iraq on March 19, 2003 over claims that Saddam Hussein’s regime was in possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). However, no WMDs were ever discovered in Iraq.
According to the California-based investigative organization Project Censored, more than one million Iraqis have been killed in the US invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq since 2003.
Nine years on, many parts of Iraq are in ruins and deadly attacks happen almost on a daily basis. Washington withdrew its military forces from Iraq back last December. But despite the official end to the war, a number of American troops and mercenaries still remain in the country. Washington is also operating a huge embassy with thousands of diplomats and staff in Baghdad.
Meanwhile, Iraqi authorities have released Saddam-era trade minister Mohammed Mahdi Saleh after nine years in prison, saying he was found innocent of charges against him.