Hours after Prime Minister Abdel Abdul Mahdi’s decision to step down, Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called the Iraqi people to stay in the streets with a view to exerting pressure on the Iraqi regime.
Al-Sadr, who leads Sairoon bloc in the parliament, went on to call the protestors to agree on a candidate to lead the upcoming government, suggesting that Abdul Mahdi’s decision is the first outcome of the two-months long protests.
“The new prime minister should not appoint his cabinet on ethnic and sectarian bases,” he added.
Sadr also called on the demonstrators to continue protesting and not to leave the street, calling on what he dubbed “Iraq’s friendly countries” to give the Iraqi people an opportunity to determine their own future.
Iraq has been rocked by mass protests since early October against poor living conditions and corruption. Protesters’ demands later spiraled into calls for dissolving the government of Abdul Mahdi.
According to Iraq’s High Commission for Human Rights, at least 406 Iraqis have been killed and 15,000 have been injured since protests began Oct. 1.
*Writing by Havva Kara Aydin