Several cities in southern Iraq and the capital of the country are now living a day of general strike in support of protests that have called for more basic services and less corruption for weeks, in a call supported by the influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr.
The appeal has had an important follow-up in the oil sector, the main natural resource, said the spokesman of the General Association of Oil and Gas Workers, Mohamed al Hosny, who said that a large number of its members joined the strike.
It is difficult to determine the exact follow-up of the measure, since the southern provinces of Babylon, Misan, Di Qar and the Wasit plant declared Sunday's day – working day in Arab countries – as a bank holiday before the news that there would be a strike.
Last Wednesday, Al Sadr, leader of the most voted political force in the 2018 elections, Sairún, called on "honest" citizens to take part in the strike in solidarity with the "revolutionary brothers" who are manifesting throughout the country since weeks ago.
The parliamentarian of Sairún Salam al Shamry said in a statement today that the call of the religious is an important step to support the reforms and change sought by the participants in the protests.
"The Government must accelerate the implementation of the demands of peaceful protesters and of all Iraqis to reform and fight corruption and its symbols (…) Otherwise, there are other peaceful ways to put things in place." , said the legislator.
Sairún has supported the Government of Adel Abdelmahdi, who challenged Al Sadr to knock down the Executive and form a new one.
"Everyone supports the protesters and their legitimate demands, so few went to their jobs and schools, and shortly after they returned to their homes," Haidar Abdul Amir, a resident of the Al Sadr capital district, a Shiite cleric's feud, told Efe.
At least 312 people have died in nine provinces of Iraq since protests began in early October, mostly from sniper shooting and repression by security forces, according to data from the NGO Iraqi Observatory for Rights Humans.
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