The Sadrists’ 30 day hiatus from participation in the protests for reform continues (details of this can be found in an earlier post). One reason Muqtada al-Sadr gave for the 30 day withdrawal was to allow space for other groups to participate in the movement, and especially those in the civil-trend who have previously stayed away from Tahrir Square because of the Sadrist presence. However, the temporary Sadrist withdrawal could be a means by which Sadr seeks to demonstrate his power and control over the protests, and that his followers make up the vast majority of participants. The first Friday after the Sadrist withdrawal saw modest turnout of a few hundred activists, but judging by the pictures shared on social media, participation in last Friday’s demonstration seems to have sustained and perhaps expanded somewhat on the core group of committed protests (albeit numbers are difficult to confirm.)
Images from August 12th Friday protest in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, shared on social media by activist Ahmad Abd al-Hussein.