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Sadr followers hold mass prayers outside Iraqi parliament to show power

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Baghdad — Thousands One of Moqtada al-Sadr's supporters held mass prayers outside Baghdad's parliament on Friday in support of a powerful Shia cleric who called on Iraq's judiciary to dissolve parliament by the end of next week. expressed.

Supporters of the populist leader have occupied Iraq's parliament since July, following his ten-month political stalemate following last October's elections. Sadr was the biggest winner, but was unable to establish a government without Iran-backed parties.

are preventing them from electing a new government and are calling for early elections.

On Wednesday he said the judiciary must dissolve parliament by the end of next week. Otherwise, "revolutionaries will take a different stance," he said without elaborating. gathered for Most wore black to mark the Muslim month of Muharram, and some wore white cloaks, symbolizing their burial shroud and will to die.

"Iraq cannot be broken as long as Sadr is here," the Imam told the crowd from a large red stage set up outside parliament. "There will be no turning back from this revolution, and the people will not give up their demands."

In the scorching heat of the summer, the men passed among the worshipers, the cold waters sprayed. There was also a portrait of Sadr's father, a prominent clergyman, and an Iraqi flag.

Political groups allied with Iran were expected to hold their own demonstrations later on Friday. This is the latest in a series of recent protests and counter-protests that have led to unrest fears.

Sadr counts millions of Iraqis among his supporters, and if he needed to exert political pressure, hundreds of thousands of supporters,

His father, Mohammed Sadik al-Sadr, said more than 20 years ago that his outspoken murdered for the brutal opposition Saddam Hussein. When Saddam won the US-led invasion in 2003, Sadr launched a rebellion against US forces.

But his new enemies are Shiite leaders, political parties largely allied with Iran. but does not have the same influence he does over a mass of devout believers. 42}