Al-Sadr orders followers to clear the streets, apologizes for violence

August 30, 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen net

By Al Mayadeen English 

The leader of the Sadrist movement in Iraq, Muqtada Al-Sadr, orders his supporters to withdraw from the Green Zone immediately and condemns the armed violence.

The leader of the Sadrist movement in Iraq, Muqtada al-Sadr during a televised speech

The leader of the Sadrist movement in Iraq, Muqtada Al-Sadr, apologized to the Iraqi people in his first speech since announcing his retirement from political life, and the beginning of the armed clashes that took place in the country and resulted in about 23 deaths and hundreds of injuries. 

Al-Sadr said in a press conference on Tuesday that “regardless of who started the strife yesterday, I apologize to the Iraqi people who are the only ones affected by what happened.” 

The Iraqi leader stressed that “the revolution that was marred by violence is no longer a revolution, and I am now criticizing the revolution of the Sadrist movement,” noting that “recent events have made Iraq a prisoner of corruption and violence at the same time.”

He also warned that “the party is disciplined and obedient, and I wash my hands of those who do not withdraw from the parliament building within an hour.”

Al-Sadr stressed that “the Popular Mobilization Forces has nothing to do with what happened yesterday in the Iraqi arena.”

In response to a question regarding his decision to retire from political life, Al-Sadr said that “Yesterday, my retirement from political work was my final retirement.”

After Al-Sadr’s televised speech ended, Al Mayadeen’s correspondent said that supporters of the Sadrist movement began to withdraw massively from the Green Zone across the Jumhuriya Bridge, adding that the curfew was lifted in Baghdad and other areas following Al-Sadr’s speech.

Consequently, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi praised Muqtada Al-Sadr’s call to stop violence, noting that it represents “the highest levels of patriotism, and keenness to preserve Iraqi blood.”

Al-Kadhimi said, in a Tweet, that Al-Sadr’s speech gives everyone a “moral and national responsibility to protect Iraq’s capabilities, stop the language of political and security escalation, and initiate a quick and fruitful dialogue to resolve the crisis.”

Earlier, dozens of Al-Sadr’s supporters stormed the Green Zone in Baghdad, shortly after he announced his retirement from politics, and the police used water cannons against the demonstrators, where the government building and foreign embassies are located.

The Iraqi authorities imposed a nationwide curfew that began at 19:00 local time (16:00 GMT) on Monday until further notice, the Iraqi Security Forces Joint Command announced, which was lifted later on Tuesday.

As the violence mounted in the Iraqi capital on Monday, the head of the Sadrist parliamentary bloc in Iraq, Hassan Al-Adhari, had previously announced that Al-Sadr will go on a hunger strike until the violence stops.

Read more: International concern mounts over latest developments in Iraq

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