The Latest: Iraq’s president calls for new election law

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Iraqi anti-government protesters take control of the concrete walls and barriers set by security forces close the Al-Sanak Bridge leading to the Green Zone during a demonstration in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019. Late Wednesday, hundreds of people headed to the Al-Sanak Bridge that runs parallel to the Joumhouriya Bridge, opening a new front in their attempts to cross the Tigris River to the Green Zone. Security forces fired volleys of tear gas that billowed smoke and covered the night sky. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

BAGHDAD (AP) — The Latest on Iraq’s anti-government protests (all times local):

5:20 p.m.

Iraq’s president has called for a new election law and says he will approve early elections once it is enacted, in response to anti-government protests.

President Barham Salih expressed support for the protesters in a prime-time address Thursday but said the sweeping changes they are calling for would need to be enacted through constitutional means. He says Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi has expressed a willingness to resign once political leaders agree on a replacement.

Iraq has seen two waves of mass protests this month, with at least 250 protesters killed in clashes with security forces. The protesters have demanded the resignation of the government and the overhaul of the political system put in place after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

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3:10 p.m.

Anti-government protesters are clashing with security forces on a second bridge leading to Baghdad’s heavily-fortified Green Zone, with at least one person killed and more than 60 wounded.

Demonstrators have gathered in the Iraqi capital’s Tahrir Square since protests resumed nearly a week ago, and have repeatedly clashed with security forces on the Joumhouriya Bridge.

The clashes spread on Thursday to the nearby Sanak Bridge, which also leads to the Green Zone that is home to government offices and embassies.

At least 250 people have been killed since demonstrations first erupted at the start of the month in Baghdad and across southern Iraq.

Security and medical officials confirmed the latest casualties. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to reporters.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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