Protesters storm Iraqi presidential palace after resignation of top pro-reform cleric

by WorldTribune Staff / 247 Real News August 29, 2022

Protesters, many chanting anti-Iran slogans, stormed the Iraqi presidential palace in Baghdad on Monday after an influential Shi’ite cleric announced he would resign from Iraqi politics.

Protesters inside the presidential palace in Baghdad. / Twitter

At least five protesters were killed in clashes with security forces, The Associated Press reported. Medical officials said at least 15 protesters were wounded by gunfire and a dozen more were injured by tear gas and physical altercations with riot police.

The protesters were supporters of cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose party won the largest share of seats in October parliamentary elections but not enough to secure a majority government.

Al-Sadr had pushed a nationalist and reform agenda that would significantly reduce Iran’s influence in Iraq. His supporters are calling for the dissolution of parliament and early elections without the participation of Iran-backed groups.

Al-Sadr had refusal to negotiate with his Iran-backed Shi’ite rivals.

An Associated Press photographer reported hearing gunshots being fired in the capital on Monday and saw several protesters bleeding and being carried away. A senior medical official confirmed at least five protesters were killed by gunfire.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi demanded that al-Sadr call on his followers to withdraw from government institutions. He also announced Cabinet meetings would be suspended.

Al-Sadr announced his withdrawal from politics in a tweet, and ordered the closure of his party offices.

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