Tens of thousands of Shiites have taken to the streets in Baghdad and other cities to protest plans for a long-term security agreement with the United States.
The rallies after Friday prayer services are the first to follow a call by anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr for weekly protests against the deal, which could lead to a long-term American troop presence.
The outcry could sharply heighten tensions over the proposal. The deal is supposed to be finished by July and replace the current U.N. mandate overseeing U.S.-led troops in Iraq.
Demonstrators in Baghdad's Sadr City district chanted "No to America! No to the occupation!" A statement from al-Sadr's office has called the negotiations "a project of humiliation for the Iraqi people."