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Sadrists Withdraw from Iraq’s Green Zone as Their Leader Gives Them ‘One Hour’
By Staff, Agencies
Followers of Iraqi cleric Sayyed Muqtada al-Sadr started withdrawing from Baghdad’s diplomatic Green Zone after their leader urged them to end their protests within one hour following a day of deadly clashes in the capital city.
Sadr told Iraqi protesters and his followers on Tuesday that they have “60 minutes” to withdraw from the high-security Green Zone in Baghdad, as he extended an apology to the Iraqi people.
“It saddens me a lot what happens in Iraq; I apologize to the Iraqi people, the only ones affected by the events,” Sadr told reporters. “We had hoped that there would be peaceful protests, not weapons.”
The Sadrist movement leader also said, “I am now criticizing the Sadrist movement’s revolution as I criticized the October revolution when it was marred by violence,” adding, “Change your minds and withdraw completely, even from the sit-in.”
Iraqi media reports said Sadr’s supporters, carrying guns and driving vehicles, began withdrawing from Baghdad’s Green Zone after he called on them to stand down.
Following the move, Iraq’s Joint Operations Command said it had decided to lift the curfew in Baghdad and other provinces. The Iraqi military also announced that a nationwide curfew, which had taken effect on Monday at 7 p.m. local time, had been lifted, further raising hopes that there might be an end to the street violence.
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