Shia cleric Al-Sadr urges protesters to leave Iraq’s Parliament
Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Tuesday called on his supporters to leave the parliament building amid protests against the nomination of a new prime minister by groups close to Iran.
In a statement, al-Sadr urged protesters to evacuate the building in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone within 72 hours. The influential leader, however, called on supporters to maintain their sit-in around the parliament HQ.
Al-Sadr also called on his supporters to gather to perform the weekly Friday prayers on Aug. 5 in the Green Zone, which houses Iraqi government offices and several foreign embassies.
Meanwhile, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi called on pro-Sadr protesters to end their demonstrations and hold dialogue among the country’s political groups.
Tension escalated across Iraq since last week following the nomination of Mohammed Shia al-Sudani as a new prime minister by the Coordination Framework, a coalition of groups close to Iran. The move, however, triggered protests from supporters of al-Sadr.
Iraq has been in a political deadlock for nine months following the country’s general elections last October, which failed since then to agree on a new government between the rival parties.
* Sohaila Barghash in Ankara contributed to this report