Iraq leader calls for protests

Jan. 2, 2013 at 8:23 AM
| License Photo

NAJAF, Iraq, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Populist Iraqi Shiite leader Moqtada Sadr is urging more demonstrations against Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to protest his consolidation of power.

Sadr said in Najaf Tuesday Maliki is asserting greater control over the government, monopolizing power and cracking down on opponents.

Sadr said he supports widespread, peaceful protests as long as they do not seek to create divisions.

The New York Times said Sadr's comments could indicate he is testing the waters for the provincial elections this spring.

The Times said demonstrations against Maliki began in Sunni areas last month after security forces raided the home of Sunni Finance Minister Rafia al-Issawi and arrested 10 of his bodyguards.

The Times said tens of thousands of Sunni Muslims participated in one protest last week, in which they blocked Iraq's main trade route to Syria.

Like Us on Facebook for more stories from UPI.com  
Related UPI Stories
Latest Headlines
Top Stories
Greeks vote overwhelmingly to reject creditors' bailout
Maine man dead after shooting firework off head, police say
Russian resupply spacecraft docks onto ISS to deliver needed provisions
Third disturbance in four days erupts at Arizona prison
Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa targeted heavily in airstrikes