Thousands of Iraqis took to the streets of Baghdad yesterday in an anti-demonstration as supporters of rival cleric Moqtada al-Sadr extended their occupation of parliament for a third day. Nearly 10 months after the Iraqi went to the polls, his two key factions of Shiite politics have fallen into political conflict. A populist saddle with millions of devoted followers and a powerful coordination framework.
“The public will not tolerate a coup,” a placard held by supporters of the Coordination Framework read as Sadr’s supporters gathered on Main Street leading to the Green Zone, home of Congress, from Saturday. “It’s a parliament for the people, all Iraqis, not an elected group,” said 25-year-old protester Ahmad Ali, condemning the “raid” on the agency.
Police fired water cannons to stop the crowd from crossing the bridge leading to the Green Zone. Thousands of Sadr supporters continued their protests in the Green Zone, waving flags and holding placards of their leaders. On Saturday, Sadr’s supporters invaded the normally high-security Green Zone, which is also home to government buildings and embassies, in protest against the prime minister’s nomination by the Coordination Framework.
On social media, supporters of the coordination framework urged supporters to stay out of the green zone, saying their aim was to “defend the nation and its legitimacy.” In Iraq, the formation of a government has involved complex negotiations since the 2003 US-led invasion overthrew dictator Saddam Hussein. In this case, a protracted political impasse has left the country without a government, a new prime minister, or a new president. The massive mobilization of Sadr’s supporters in recent weeks underscores the political clout of the preacher, who once led militias against government forces in the United States and Iraq.
The Coordination Framework Alliance includes lawmakers from the party of former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a longtime enemy of Sadr. It also represents the powerful former militia confederation Hasid al-Shaabi, now integrated into the regular army. Hadi al-Ameri, who heads Hashed’s faction, on Monday reiterated calls for “a constructive dialogue that would allow us to find solutions to disputed issues.”
He cautioned against “an atmosphere of escalation in the media, sparked by statements calling for and against large-scale mobilizations that can spiral out of control and lead to violence.”
Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said Tehran respects “the choice of the Iraqi people” and that “dialogue is the best way to resolve Iraq’s internal affairs.”
Sadr’s 73 deputies made up the largest group of parliament’s 329 deputies, but they were unable to form a government.
They resigned in June, a move that made their rivals the largest bloc in parliament. Prompted a second seizure of parliament on the 30th of the month. On Sunday, Capricious Saddle called out “to all … to support the reformist revolutionaries.”
He hailed the first step towards a “spontaneous revolution in the Green Zone, a unique opportunity for radical change.”
The Coordination Framework described the appeal as “a call for a coup against the people, the state and its institutions.” Sadr’s followers chanted slogans in the parliament’s porch on Monday.
“We want to get rid of the corrupt government,” protester Zaher Al-Atabi said. “From 2003 to now, those who have run the country have done nothing to develop public services, health care and education.”
But while clergy supporters see him cracking down on corruption, sadlist supporters hold the highest-level posts in government ministries, and opponents say they are in line with other Iraqi political forces. They accuse it of being equally corrupt.
http://www.gulf-times.com/story/722074/Thousands-protest-against-Iraq-parliament-occupati Thousands Protest Iraqi Parliament Occupation