Iraq’s Sadr warns of ‘million-man’ demo after Ramadan pause
His followers have been holding weekly protests to demand reform and an end to corruption
Powerful Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Saturday called a halt to anti-government protests during Ramadan but warned that a “million-man” demonstration would be held after the Muslim holy month has ended.
“I found it would be beneficial to take a break and postpone all of this until the end of the month,” he said in a statement.
His followers have been holding weekly protests to demand reform and an end to corruption, bringing the city to a standstill every Friday as security forces deployed en masse.
Sadr called for the preparation of “a peaceful, popular million-man protest” after Ramadan ends in July and warned that he would not rein in his forces if protesters were confronted.
Protesters led by Sadr supporters have breached Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone twice already over the past two months, storming parliament and the prime minister's office.
The last time was on May 20 and saw tension in Baghdad rise as Sadr’s militia Saraya al-Salam and other armed groups loyal to rival factions in government faced off on the street.
Several protesters were also killed and wounded by the security forces defending the Green Zone, which is home to the country’s top institutions.
- Iran and Sadr directing Iraq’s protests, sectarian conflict?
- Iraqis protest, blame leaders for Baghdad carnage
- Three blasts kill at least 77 in Baghdad
- Iraq’s Shiite rivalries risk turning violent, weakening war on ISIS
- Iraq's Sadr warns against blocking ‘peaceful protests’
- Iraq forces fire tear gas to disperse protesters