The Iraqi Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. File photo.
Influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has called for fresh protests next Friday in Baghdad condemning what he views as corruption in the government and disregard to his proposed political settlement initiatives.
“Speeding events Iraqis are witnessing between a decisive battle with terrorism powers from Daesh (Islamic State) and the terrorists of politics, perpetrators of corruption that has worn out the state and consumed the people’s energy, requires to sustain the impetus of the reform project,” he said In a statement late Saturday.
He said he planned to deliver a speech to his supporters during the rallies scheduled in Baghdad’s central Tahrir Square.
Protests urged by Sadr in February, condemning political influence over the formation of the country’s electoral commission, had developed into violent clashes that left five dead and dozens wounded, including security members.
Sadr’s parliamentary bloc has recently boycotted meetings by the country’s leading, Shia-led political alliance, the National Iraqi Alliance for allegedly ignoring a proposed political settlement and reform project submitted by al-Sadr.
Al-Sadr has been a central player in the political and militancy scene in Iraq, and had for sometime, following the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, been branded an enemy to the United States, being an ardent opponent to foreign military presence in the country.
His settlement proposal, besides providing for U.N.-sponsored elections and sureties for minority rights, conditioned withdrawal of foreign,especially American, troops.