BAGHDAD, July 15 (UPI) — Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr led a massive rally in Baghdad against government corruption and sectarianism Friday.
Tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered in Tahir Square at a rally to call an end to corruption and to unify Shiite and Sunni Iraqis. They chanted “No, no to corruption. No, no to sectarianism. Yes, yes to reform. Yes, yes to Iraq,” Xinhua reported.
Sadr attended the rally but did not speak, leading protesters in chants before an aide read his speech, in which he demanded the firing of all corrupt people in government, freedom in Baghdad and an end to U.S. troops in Iraq.
Protesters threatened to march to Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, the location of many Iraqi government agencies and foreign diplomatic missions. In April, Sadr’s supporters stormed the area and entered the parliament building, demanding an end to corruption. At least two protesters were killed during the incident.
Reforms attempted by Iraqi President Haider al-Abadi have been stalled by political blocs in parliament who see the changes as a way to marginalize their factions in a government originally established on power-sharing agreements.