The Iraqi army on Thursday ordered security forces to "immediately arrest" any individuals causing chaos on the roads as transport routes were cut by anti-government protesters.
Iraq has been gripped by protests in the capital Baghdad and across most of its southern provinces by demonstrators calling for the removal of a political class they view as corrupt and beholden to foreign interest, including Iran and US.
General Abdul Karim Khalaf, army spokesman, said security forces would "arrest anyone trying to block roads or bridges" and urged the protesters to avoid violence.
More than 260 protesters have been killed in a brutal crackdown by security forces, including four in the capital on Thursday, since the demonstrations began on October 1.
Gen Khalaf said that no live ammunition was being used.
"To avoid any confusion, clear and strict instructions have been handed down that no live ammunition be used. Orders have also been given not to allow any live ammunition on the scene of protests," he said during a press conference.