After weeks of organizing major Friday protests in and around the Iraqi Green Zone, highly influential Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr organized a sit-in over the weekend, demanding major economic and political reforms.
Sadr heads an important political faction within parliament, and Prime Minister Haider Abadi finally agreed to meet with him this evening, the first time they’ve really publicly acknowledged the growing protest movement.
Sadr has managed to organize protests with hundreds of thousands of people in them on a weekly basis with his call to replace politically-connected figures with technocrats, a reform Abadi had promised months prior but never followed through on.
Abadi has recently downplayed calls to speed up reforms, insisting it is unreasonable to expect him to change the system overnight, but after a year and a half as premier, he is seen as having done very little of substance.
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