Babylon has belatedly been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the international cultural organisation, 36 years after Baghdad applied for the designation. Successive Iraqi governments have pressed for recognition and, for the past 12 years,
More than 30 people were taken to hospital with breathing difficulties
More than 250 Iraqis have been killed in demonstrations against government since the start of October.
Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in recent weeks in the capital, Baghdad, and across the Shiite south, demanding sweeping political change. The protesters complain of widespread corruption, a lack of job opportunities and poor basic services, with regular power cuts despite the country's vast oil reserves.
The death toll from protests this month has soared to 220, including dozens killed since Friday as they torched government buildings or offices.
The protests represent a second phase of a week-long movement in early October that ended with more than 150 people dead. Rallies had been set to resume on Friday, with a range of actors from Iraq's highest Shiite authority to the United Nations urging restraint.
Security forces used live fire against protesters near Shuhada Bridge in central Baghdad. Gunfire was used against demonstrators in Basra, the main source of Iraq's oil wealth, who had staged a days-long sit-in.
The president spoke after Defence Secretary Mark Esper said that around 750 troops from a rapid response unit of the 82nd Airborne Division are prepared to deploy over the next several days to the Middle East.
Three Katyusha rockets fell inside the capital's heavily fortified Green Zone which houses government buildings and foreign missions, police sources told the media.