Sadr supporters still demand change in Iraq after deadly violence

by | Aug 31, 2022 | World

A day after the Iraqi Shia religious leader Muqtada al-Sadr told his supporters to leave their protest sites in Baghdad’s Green Zone, calm has returned to the Iraqi capital.The violence that began on Monday evening and carried on into Tuesday morning claimed the lives of 30 people, and left 700 injured.
It began when al-Sadr himself announced what he called his “final withdrawal” from politics on Monday.
His supporters, known as the Sadrists, had been gathered for months at a sit-in in front of the parliament demanding its dissolution.
After al-Sadr’s announcement, they stormed the Republican Palace, where the government is based, and clashed with rival protesters who support the Iran-backed Coordination Framework Alliance.
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By nightfall militias associated with both sides took to the streets, and the fighting began.
Many in Iraq blame both sides. “Families lived through a horrible few hours, kids were crying after they heard the weapons, the sick worried about their health,” Mohanad Baker, a Baghdadi resident, told Al Jazeera. “Who are the winners? No one, we are all losers.”
The Sadrists have been accused by their opponents of being the instigators of the violence, and of preventing the formation of a new government, almost a year on from last October’s elections.
But the al-Sadr supporters Al Jazeera spoke to said they want the country to reform, and will continue to back al-Sadr.
Here’s what they had to say:
Haider Hadi, 23 – ‘We are demanding radical change’
“We entered the parliament building inside the Green Zone, we delivered our demands, and they’re …

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