At least 18 people were killed in Shia holy city of Najaf [Alaa al-Marjani/Reuters]

Baghdad, Iraq – Hundreds of people in southern Iraqi cities of Nasiriya and Najaf have taken to the streets to bury their dead and demand justice a day after at least 52 protesters were shot dead by security forces in the country’s south in what was described as the “bloodiest day” in the weeks-long anti-government demonstrations.

At least 34 protesters were killed in Nasiriya city while another 18 people lost their lives in Shia holy city of Najaf, where an Iranian consulate was torched a day earlier by angry protesters.

While the situation remained relatively calm in Najaf on Friday with families mourning and burying their dead, clashes between protesters

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