Iraq's Sadr urges followers to join Baghdad protests
(MENAFN- The Journal Of Turkish Weekly) Muqtada al-Sadr, the influential leader of Iraq's Shia Sadrist movement, has called on followers to stage massive demonstrations in Baghdad on Friday to demand judicial reform, the prosecution of corrupt officials and a timetable for implementing promised reforms.
"Muqtada al-Sadr has called on the Iraqi people € especially supporters of the Sadrist movement € to take part in Friday demonstrations in Baghdad," al-Sadr spokesman Salah al-Obeidi said at a Monday press conference held in the city of Najaf.
"Demonstrators should demand an end of sectarianism and the implementation of the comprehensive reform package" that was approved earlier this month by Iraq's parliament, he added.
"They should also demand that officials [accused of corruption] are brought to justice," said al-Obeidi.
The spokesman went on to note that al-Sadr was urging followers not to raise banners advertising their respective political affiliations, to avoid making "personal or factional demands" and to focus on the above-mentioned demands, along with demands for improved public services.
Last Friday, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis in 11 provinces took to the streets to protest poor public services, high unemployment and widespread government corruption.
On Aug.11, Iraq's parliament approved a raft of reforms proposed two days earlier by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and endorsed the same day by Iraq's council of ministers.
Along with laying down steps for fighting corruption and streamlining state bureaucracy, Abadi's reform package also eliminated the posts of vice-president and deputy prime minister.
The endorsement of Abadi's reform packed followed two weeks of demonstrations across Iraq held to protest widespread government corruption and poor public services.
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