At least 20 people have died during clashes in central Baghdad on Monday following the announcement by influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr that he is retiring from political life, according to medical sources cited by Al Jazeera.
Most of the dead would be demonstrators related to Al Sadr, according to the official NINA news agency, which has confirmed police charges in the Green Zone of the Iraqi capital, where the main institutions are located.
Security forces have used tear gas as well as live ammunition to contain protesters, before political leaders appealed for restraint from all sides. Among the institutions raided is the building that houses the prime minister’s office.
The authorities have imposed a curfew to try to contain this wave of violence, which has also spread to other areas of Iraq. In Basra, groups of protesters have also stormed public buildings, NINA reports.
However, the Iraqi Executive has closed government offices due to the ongoing curfew, while Prime Minister Mustafa al Kadhimi has ordered that “official working hours be out” on Tuesday, according to the Iraqi News Agency. (INA).
Al Sadr, who had spent weeks mobilizing his hundreds of thousands of supporters in Baghdad to the point of having taken over Parliament twice, demanded the calling of new elections after ten months of failure to form a government.
Source: Europa Press