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.
The Sadrists—supporters of the cleric and politician Muqtada al-Sadr—may yet back down, realising this is a fight they cannot win. Other lawmakers will try to broker a face-saving exit https://t.co/FcIlWvHorB— The Economist (@TheEconomist) August 3, 2022
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.
Sadrists occupy Iraqi parliament— Peoples Dispatch (@peoplesdispatch) August 3, 2022
The political crisis escalated in Iraq as supporters of Muqtada Al-Sadr stormed the parliament and began an indefinite sit-in on Sunday, July 31.@RaniaKhalek of @BTnewsroom
Watch the full video here: https://t.co/v93ix3Bo9u pic.twitter.com/p21kFGBmY3
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.
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