Marchers avoided Tahrir square, symbol of mass protests against Iraq' ruling elites.
" Was the slogan of the day in Baghdad, where a protest march called by Moqtada al-Sadr drew tens of thousands of demonstrators calling for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq".
"(Al Sadr's statement) gave the green light for the government to suppress the demonstrations", said Husanien Ali, a 35-year-old protester. Iran retaliated by shooting ballistic missiles at two Iraqi military bases where USA forces were stationed.
Riot police fire tear gas to disperse anti-government protesters in Baghdad on Saturday.
Marchers started gathering early in the day at al-Hurriya Square in central Baghdad and near the city's main university.
Sadr, a militiaman-turned-politician, is notorious for switching political positions with dizzying speed.
Protesters have for months held anti-government demonstrations and camped in the capital.
"The fact that millions of Iraqi people attended the rally showed that the USA threat to impose sanctions against that country is a rotten tool that can not impact the determination of governments and nations that are after their independence and national sovereignty", Shamkhani said on Friday, ISNA reported.
On January 5, Iraq's parliament passed a resolution calling for foreign troops to leave the country in the wake of a US air strike that killed Iran's top military commander, Qassem Soleimani, near Baghdad on January 3.
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In Basra, protesters urged Sadr to reconsider what they said was a withdrawal of support for popular demonstrations.
In Hilla, Diwaniyah, Kut, Amarah and the Shiite shrine city of Najaf, tents were stripped down to their metal frames on Saturday.
There was a heavy security presence as the protesters, mostly hailing from the capital but also Iraq's southern provinces, walked on foot to an assembly point in Baghdad's Jadriya neighborhood, waving Iraqi flags and wearing symbolic white shrouds.
Security forces had burnt tents belonging to protesters to the ground, with local authorities clearing up the remains in the square to reopen the area, according to AFP. Crackdowns by security forces have killed at least 500 protesters.
One young activist in Baghdad accused Sadr of greenlighting a wider crackdown by pulling political cover. More than 450 people have died in the violence, according to a Reuters tally from police and medics.
The protest movement took a serious hit in recent weeks as US-Iran tensions skyrocketed, threatening to overwhelm Iraq and eclipse the campaign for sweeping reform.
The march comes just weeks after Iraq was shaken by an American drone strike near Baghdad airport, which killed Iran's top General Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy chief of Iraq's Shia militia, along with other officers.
Official Baghdad, for its part, blamed Washington for breaching its sovereignty, with the lawmakers of the Islamic republic having passed a non-binding resolution calling on the government to expel all foreign troops from the country.