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Iraqi protests swell despite clash with Sadrist supporters

When their tents were burned, Iraqi protesters replaced them with concrete structures. And when influential cleric Muqtada al-Sadr withdrew his support, even more protesters turned out despite fears of a crackdown by security forces.
University students shout slogans, during ongoing anti-government protests in Kerbala, Iraq January 26, 2020. REUTERS/Abdullah Dhiaa al-Deen - RC2NNE9C338G

After withdrawing his support for the protests, controversial populist Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr ordered his followers back to Tahrir Square Feb. 1, where his supporters clashed with demonstrators and forcibly took over the main part of Tahrir Square as well as the Turkish Restaurant that has been under control of the protesters.

The nomination of Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi as the new Iraqi prime minister was simultaneously received negatively by the protesters, who see his appointment as a plot by Sadr and his Iran-backed allies in the government to end the protests in Baghdad. 

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