Middle East

Shia cleric urges Iraq civil servants to strike

For months, al-Sadr loyalists staged a series of protests to pressure al-Abadi to unveil a government of technocrats

03.09.2016
Shia cleric urges Iraq civil servants to strike

BAGHDAD

Iraq’s firebrand Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has called on civil servants to go on strike in a new escalation against the Iraqi government.

In a statement on Friday, al-Sadr urged employees -- except for security forces -- to stage a strike on Sunday and Monday to pressure Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi to form a technocrat government.

“After the end of the one-month period, it has become imperative for us to accelerate our peaceful protests,” he said.

The Shia cleric also called on Iraqis to stage a hunger strike inside mosques, shrines and churches as of Friday as a way of piling pressure on al-Abadi to replace his government.

“We will take all options to end corruption,” he vowed.

Al-Sadr had called on his supporters to halt protests for a one-month period in order to give al-Abadi a chance to form a technocrat government.

For months, al-Sadr loyalists staged a series of protests to pressure the Iraqi premier to unveil a government of technocrats untainted by corruption or sectarian affiliations.

Iraq ranks the 161st out of 168 countries on Transparency International’s "corruption perceptions index".

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