Sadr supporters stage sit-in outside parliament

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Supporters of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr pitched tents outside Baghdad’s parliament on Sunday to demand the assembly’s dissolution and new elections, a move that could prolong Iraq’s political paralysis or plunge the country in new violence.

Thousands of Sadrist militants invaded on Saturday, for the second time in a week, the Green Zone, a fortified district of the Iraqi capital which houses ministers and foreign missions.

Clashes between demonstrators and police left at least 125 injured, according to the Minister of Health.

“We are staying until our demands are heard. And we have a lot of demands,” said a member of the Sadrist Movement’s political leadership, speaking on condition of anonymity.

In addition to the dissolution of parliament, the Sadrist Movement is calling for the replacement of Supreme Court judges, he added.

Moqtada al-Sadr’s party came out on top in October’s legislative elections, but last June withdrew its 74 deputies from parliament after failing to form a government that excluded Shia rivals, mainly Iranian-backed groups. .

This withdrawal strengthened the influence of the Coalition of pro-Iranian parties, which once again became the main group in Parliament.

The Shiite imam has since followed through on his threats to stir up popular unrest if parliament tries to approve a government he does not approve, saying it must be free from foreign influence and rampant corruption. in Iraq for decades.

As Iraq experiences its longest period without a president or prime minister, Moqtada al-Sadr retains much of the power himself as his movement remains involved in the running of the country, with his followers holding key positions in all ministers. and state bodies.

(Report John Davison, French version Jean-Stphane Brosse)

by John Davison

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