More followers of Iraqi Shiite cleric join rally in Baghdad


Addis Ababa / AFP

More followers of an influential Iraqi Shiite cleric on Monday joined a rally in central Baghdad to press lawmakers to vote on a Cabinet shakeup proposed by the prime minister amid a simmering political crisis that could jeopardize the country’s fight against the Islamic State group.
Police cordoned off a downtown square with razor wire and concrete blocks after hundreds of Muqtada al-Sadr’s supporters on Sunday erected camping tents for what’s expected to be a long sit-in. Some protesters waived Iraqi flags while others raised anti-corruption slogans.
Al-Sadr on Saturday issued an ultimatum to parliament to vote on a new government on Monday’s session. “If these conditions are not met, then let it be known that the people will decide,” al-Sadr wrote in his warning.
The firebrand Shiite cleric was the main force behind pressuring al-Abadi to offer lawmakers last month a list of technocrats nominated for his new government.

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