Populist cleric al-Sadr joins protesters in Iraq’s Najaf: Source

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Populist Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr joined thousands of anti-government demonstrators on Tuesday in the holy city of Najaf, an AFP correspondent said.

Al-Sadr, who has backed the protests, was spotted shortly after airport sources told AFP the militiaman-turned-leader had landed in his native Najaf from Iran.

On Monday, al-Sadr called on Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi to announce early parliamentary elections overseen by the United Nations and without the participation of existing political parties.

Al-Sadr’s bloc, Saeroon, which came first in a 2018 election and helped bring Abdul Mahdi’s fragile coalition government to power, said on Saturday it was going into opposition until the demands of anti-government protesters were met.

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