Iraqi protesters on Wednesday stormed and set fire to the Iranian consulate in the southern city of Najaf, police and civil defense sources said, according to Reuters.

Staff at the consulate had evacuated before the incident, they said. Authorities announced a curfew shortly afterwards, state media reported.

The protesters entered the compound late on Wednesday and set fire to the entire consulate building, the police and civil defense source said.

Iraqis have taken to the streets in thousands to demand the departure of their government and political class which they view as corrupt and beholden to foreign powers, especially neighboring Iran.

Authorities have shot dead more than 300 people in an attempted crackdown on the unrest.

In similar riots in September of 2018, angry protesters stormed the Iranian consulate in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, setting a fire inside.

Many residents of the predominantly Shiite city accuse Iranian-backed political parties of interfering with Iraqi politics.

A report last year said that Iran had transferred short-range ballistic missiles to its Shiite allies inside Iraq.

Iran rejected the report, claiming it aimed to harm Iran’s ties with its neighbors. Iraq’s Foreign Ministry said the article was “without evidence”, though it stopped short of denying its contents.