Some 2,000 supporters of Iraq’s pro-Iran Hashed al-Shaabi network protested Friday in Baghdad against alleged fraud at last month’s parliamentary polls, a week after a similar rallies turned violent.
The demonstration comes days after Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, whom Hashed supporters accuse of “complicity” in the alleged fraud, escaped unhurt from an unclaimed drone attack on his residence in Baghdad’s Green Zone.
Hashed supporters gathered peacefully on Friday near one of the entrances to the Green Zone chanting slogans against Kadhimi and “death to America,” AFP correspondents said.
The faced off against security forces deployed to prevent them from storming the highly protected area, which is also home to the electoral commission, government offices and the US embassy.
Several dozen pro-Hashed protesters had set up camp at the same location last Friday after violent clashes with police that left one protester dead, according to a security source. One of the Hashed factions said two demonstrators were killed.
Political tensions have soared in Iraq over the results of the October 10 elections.
Kadhimi’s office described Sunday’s attack as a “failed assassination attempt.”
Preliminary results saw the Conquest (Fatah) Alliance, the political arm of the Hashed, suffer a substantial decline in its parliamentary seats, winning 15 of the 329 seats in parliament -- down from the 48 it held previously.
The big winner this time, with more than 70 seats according to the initial count, was the movement of Moqtada Sadr, a Shiite Muslim preacher who campaigned as a nationalist and critic of Iran.
Hashed leaders have rejected the results as a “scam,” though Iraq’s electoral commission said Monday that a manual vote recount in some polling stations where complaints were filed by pro-Iran groups did not show any “fraud.”
Final results are expected in the coming days.
The preliminary results suggest the Hashed will nonetheless remain a considerable political force in parliament through its alliances and the support of some independent candidates.