Security forces fired tear gas and threw stun grenades into crowds of demonstrators wearing helmets and makeshift body armor on a main road in central Baghdad, sending protesters scattering, some wounded, Reuters reporters said.
The clashes wounded scores more people and put security forces back in control of all except one major bridge linking the Iraqi capital's eastern residential and business districts to government headquarters across the Tigris river. Despite the violence, thousands again flocked to the capital's main protest camp in Tahrir (Liberation) Square on Friday, including members of Iraq's influential tribes.
Overnight, security forces began clearing out protest camps in Baghdad, the port city of Basra and the holy city of Karbala.
Anti-corruption protests and a heavy-handed security response have resulted so far in more than 250 deaths.
Abdul Mahdi, who announced a spate of reforms during the first wave of protests last month, added that new electoral reforms would be announced in the "coming few days".
Khazaali and Ameri are leading commanders in the Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary network, which has publicly backed the government after protests erupted. Government sources had told AFP ties between them had been cut after Salih proposed the premier be replaced.
Amnesty International said the security forces have been using military-grade tear gas canisters made in Iran or Serbia that can be deadly if fired at point-blank range.
Mass protests began at Tahrir Square in Baghdad on October 1 as demonstrators demanded jobs and services, and have swelled in the capital and southern cities with calls for an overhaul of the sectarian political system.
Doctors at hospitals have shown scans of tear gas canisters embedded in the skulls of dead protesters.
Activists and medics say they have been subject to a campaign of intimidation, with two activists killed in Missan on Wednesday by unknown assailants.
Oil-rich Iraq is OPEC's second biggest producer, but one in five people live in poverty and youth unemployment stands at 25 percent, according to the World Bank.
Abdel Mahdi, 77, came to power past year, pledging to tackle both corruption and unemployment.
And on Saturday parliament convened to discuss reform proposals, including hiring drives and increased welfare payouts.
Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who only speaks on politics in times of crisis and wields enormous influence over public opinion in Shi'ite-majority Iraq, held security forces accountable for any violent escalation and urged the government to respond as quickly as possible to demonstrators' demands. Protesters have tried to force their way across on an nearly daily basis.
Iraq, exhausted by decades of conflict and sanctions, had enjoyed relative calm after Islamic State was defeated in 2017.
Late on Friday the military said 17 rockets had landed near a base hosting USA forces in northern Iraq.