Al-Sadr and his party were winners in October’s parliamentary elections, but failed to gain a majority to form a government. His followers stormed parliament on his orders on Saturday to prevent the Iran-backed Coordinating Framework Alliance from voting in a new government after naming Mohamed al-Sudani as prime minister.
Tuesday’s move is a de-escalation on the part of al-Sadr, but far from dissolving the protests. It comes a day after his rivals in the Framework alliance staged a protest that many feared would lead to street fighting between loyalists from the rival Shia factions. The protesters withdrew on the orders of Qais al-Khazali, a leading member of the Framework.
Shia officials told The Associated Press that Kader al-Sadr had made a proposal to withdraw from the parliament building. In return, the parliament building would remain closed to lawmakers.
Al-Sadr’s followers have camped in the parliament building in the heavily fortified Green Zone since thousands stormed the building on Saturday, demanding reforms and denouncing the Iran-backed alliance. Al-Sadr’s representatives have called on supporters in Iraqi provinces to protest in their towns and villages in support of the parliament sit-in.
Al-Sadr’s followers were also ordered to hold mass prayers Friday at the Victory Arch, a monument also located in the district.