Supporters storm gov’t HQ after Sadr ‘withdraws’ from politics

by | Aug 29, 2022 | World

The Iraqi Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr has announced that he is quitting political life and closing his political offices in a move that could further inflame tensions in the country.The statement, published on Twitter on Monday, comes amid months of protests by his supporters backing his call for the dissolution of the Iraqi parliament, which has seen ten months of deadlock representing the longest Iraq has gone without a government, and for new elections to be held.
“I hereby announce my final withdrawal,” al-Sadr said.
The announcement was quickly met with escalation from al-Sadr’s supporters, who have stormed the Republican Palace, a ceremonial building inside Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone of government buildings that houses the office of the prime minister.
Supporters, who had been gathered at a sit-in since the end of July near the Iraqi parliament, have also approached a counter-protest held by al-Sadr’s Shia rivals, leading to fears of an outbreak of violence between the two groups.
The army meanwhile announced a Baghdad-wide curfew, which went into effect at 3:30pm (12:30 GMT).
In his statement, al-Sadr attacked his political opponents and said they had not listened to his calls for reform.
The announcement came two days after al-Sadr said “all parties”, including his own should, give up government positions in order to help resolve the months-long political crisis, while calling on those who “have been part of the political process” since the United States-led invas …

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