Baghdad, Nov 28 (EFE) .- At least six people died and another 80 were injured in the southern city of Nasiriyah, where clashes broke out on Friday between protesters and followers of the influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr, after the religious leader ask for the support of the masses in the face of the early parliamentary elections scheduled for June 2021.
An employee of the statistics department of the Nasiriya general hospital, Mohamed al Adly, told EFE today that six people died and another 80 were injured of varying severity after yesterday’s clashes in Al Habubi Square in the Iraqi city, one of the most important concentration points of the protests that started in October 2019.
Nasiriya was the scene of violent clashes after the cleric’s supporters attempted to break into the square and protesters prevented it, sparking a pitched battle with sticks, stones and fires in the tents.
As a result of the escalation of violence, the Prime Minister of Iraq, Mustafa al Kazemi, ordered the dismissal of the police chief of Di Qar, a province whose capital is Nasiriyah, for failing to stop the clashes that forced the government to impose a touch curfew in the southern town.
These events took place in parallel to a massive gathering of Al Sadr supporters yesterday in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the protests that overthrew the previous government of Adel Abdelmahdi and caused some 600 deaths and tens of thousands of injuries.
According to Efe, tens of thousands of Iraqis gathered in the square during the Muslim prayer on Friday, waving Iraqi flags and holding up images of the cleric, who earlier this week asked his supporters through the social network Twitter to show him his support in the streets ahead of the early parliamentary elections on June 6.
BRIEF SERMON FROM AL SADR
Al Sadr even gave a short sermon to the crowd, despite rarely appearing in public, where he asked for support in obtaining a majority of the party he sponsors in Parliament, appointing a prime minister, and thus “liberating Iraq from the corrupt parties “.
Al Sadr de facto leads the Sairun coalition, the group that has the most seats in the Iraqi Legislative as a result of the 2018 elections and led the armed group Al Mahdi Army after the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 to fight against US troops. .UU. For years, before freezing the activity of this militia after the departure of US forces in 2011.
With deep anti-American sentiment, the cleric has maintained an ambiguous stance on the protests and has called for early elections at all times, although this is the first time that he explicitly acknowledges the intention that his party be in charge of appointing a new prime minister.
(c) EFE Agency