Iraq’s most powerful politicians appeared to withhold support for Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi on Wednesday, as anti-government protests swelled into the biggest mass demonstrations the country has seen since the fall of Saddam Hussein, according to Reuters.
Protesters from across Iraq’s sectarian and ethnic divides thronged the centre of the capital Baghdad in a show of fury at the political class. While Abdul Mahdi’s fate was not yet clear, demonstrators said removing him would not be enough.
After four weeks of protests in which more than 250 people have been killed, the past 24 hours saw the demonstrations swell to a previously unseen scale in the capital.
Middle class families with small children joined self-proclaimed “revolutionary” youths from poor neighborhoods to brave tear gas and barricades in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square.
“No Moqtada, no Hadi,” protesters chanted, denouncing what they saw as an effort by the leaders of parliament’s two largest blocs — populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and militia leader Hadi al-Amiri — to cling to power behind the scenes with or without the prime minister they installed a year ago.
Sadr has demanded Abdul Mahdi call an early election. When the premier refused, Sadr called on Amiri, his main political rival, to help oust him.