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.