Iraqi protests celebrate 2-1 win over Iran in soccer match

BAGHDAD (AP) — Anti-government protesters in Iraq’s capital city are celebrating with fireworks a 2-1 win over Iran in a much-anticipated World Cup qualifying match, hoping it’ll return momentum to their movement.

View all (5)

Crowds watched the game Thursday on a large screen in Baghdad’s main Tahrir Square, the epicenter of demonstrations that have called for overturning Iraq’s sectarian system and Iranian influence.

The protesters say they hope the win over Iran will inspire higher turnout after a security crackdown caused demonstrator numbers to dwindle.

Protesters are calling for a million march to take to Baghdad’s streets on Friday.

FIFA had changed the venue of the match from the southern Iraqi city of Basra to Amman over security concerns. The international soccer federation had recently lifted a three-decade ban on Iraq to host international matches.