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Iraq's Sadr Calls On Followers To Join Protests

Iraq's powerful Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has called on his followers to join Friday protests in Baghdad.

Sadr's statement on August 24 is the first direct appeal by a major party leader to participate in the protests, sparked by anger over power cuts during a sweltering heatwave.

The capital and many southern cities have witnessed demonstrations in recent weeks calling for the provision of basic services, the trial of corrupt politicians, and the shakeup of a system riddled with graft and incompetence.

The most recent demonstrations have lasted several days in southern cities including Basra and Hilla.

The protests have been mostly nonsectarian.

Based on reporting by Reuters