BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Thousands of followers of an anti-U.S. cleric took to the streets in Baghdad on Monday to protest the deaths of pro-Palestinian activists in Israel’s storming of an aid Flotilla bound for Gaza.
The demonstrators, waving Iraqi and Palestinian flags and holding pictures of their leader Moqtada al-Sadr, chanted against Israel and its ally, the United States.
“We call on the international community to take responsibility for what is going on against our people in Palestine,” Sadr said in a statement read out by one of his representatives, Sheikh Abdul Hadi al-Muhammadawi.
“This act that Israel committed today is an inhumane act. All countries, especially Arab countries, must take action beyond just media condemnation.”
Sadr, a Shi‘ite who is studying in Iran and is part of the Iraqi National Alliance (INA), is likely to be a key player in helping form Iraq’s new government following its inconclusive election in March.
“We want to send a message to the Palestinians to let them know they are not alone and that the Iraqis are with them,” said Iraqi Interior Minister Jawad Bolani. “What is going on is a vicious crime. The international community must condemn it and take responsible action against them. This is the stand of all Iraqis, officially and publically.”
Reporting by Muhanad Mohammed; Writing by Serena Chaudhry