On Wednesday, five protesters and a police officer were shot dead in the southern city of Nasiriyah, a provincial health official said.
Twelve people were killed late Wednesday in the southern cities of Nasriyah, Kut, and Amara.
The protests are the most serious challenge against Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi's government since it was formed almost a year ago.
The demonstrations began in Baghdad on Tuesday and quickly grew and spread to other cities, mainly in Iraq's south. Police fired live rounds, tear gas and water cannon to disperse protesters.
The blasts at five Hashed bases have been a threat to Baghdad's precarious balancing act between its two main allies, Washington and Tehran.
Some of the deaths and injuries came in Baghdad's Tahrir Square, as police fired tear gas and live ammunition into a crowd of hundreds.
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Prime Minister Abdul Mahdi chaired an emergency national security council meeting and ordered Thursday's curfew in Baghdad. It excludes travelers to and from the Baghdad airport and Iraqi Airways said flights were operating as scheduled.
Small protests also took place in the northern city of Kirkuk and eastern province of Diyala. "We've been demanding them for years and the government has never responded". Another was killed in the southern city of Emara and one protester died of wounds sustained on Tuesday. Casualty figures vary, but at least 22 were reported killed during a second day of protests and other violence.
Police had set up metal barricades and stationed trucks at the mouth of the bridge to prevent protesters from crossing, and a security source inside the zone told AFP that reinforcements were requested.
The United Nations has called on the authorities to exercise restraint.
Explosions were heard inside the Iraqi capital's Green Zone, home to government and embassy buildings, in the early morning - hours after it was sealed off for fear that it would be overrun by protesters.
The interior ministry blamed "rioters who aimed to undermine the true meaning of the [protesters'] demands and strip them of peacefulness".
Authorities say the curfew is meant to "protect general peace" and protect protesters from "infiltrators" who committed attacks against security forces and public property.
The protests follow months of simmering frustration over chronic power cuts, water shortages and state corruption.
Blaming unnamed "rioters" for the unrest, the government vowed to address protesters' concerns.