IRAQIS are joining a ‘million-man march’ against the US today as anger soars over a meeting between the president of Iraq Barham Salih and US President Trump.
Last week, influential Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr demanded that Iraqis stage a ‘million-man march’ in order ‘to condemn the American presence and its violations’ in the Arab country.
‘The skies, land, and sovereignty of Iraq are being violated every day by occupying forces,’ tweeted the cleric, who leads the largest parliamentary bloc, Sairoon (Alliance Towards Reform).
Many resistance groups and political movements have supported the demonstration, which takes place in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, this morning.
The call for the march came days after the Iraqi parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of a resolution calling for the expulsion of all US-led forces.
It followed Washington’s assassination of senior Iranian commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU), among others, near the Baghdad airport, on US President Donald Trump’s direct order.
Speaking on the eve of the march, Sadr’s spokesman Salah al-Ubaidi said the rally would be held at the intersection of Baghdad University in Jadriyah neighbourhood, according to Iraqi media. He also did not rule out Sadr’s participation in the event.
Iraqi lawmaker Ahmed al-Asadi, of the Fatah (Conquest) alliance, said that today’s rally is aimed at expelling American forces from the country.
Nasser al-Shammari, deputy secretary-general of the al-Naujaba Brigades, told the Doha-based television network Al Jazeera that ‘an unprecedented number of people’ are expected to turn out for today’s rally.
‘It will reignite the flame of resistance which won’t die until we expel every single one of those US troops from Iraq. This is the will of the Iraqi people and the parliament,’ he said.
On Wednesday, Salih met with Trump on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, sparking condemnation from different Iraqi factions.
Kata’ib Hezbollah spokesman said that the group considered the Salih-Trump meeting ‘deeply humiliating and inconsiderate of the loss of Iraqi blood.’
‘Trump has committed unforgivable crimes against the Iraqi people. How could Salih join hands with someone who has no respect for Iraq’s sovereignty and the blood of its martyrs?’ Mohie asked. ‘He (Salih) has positioned himself against the Iraqi people. We call on him to step down and not return to Baghdad. He is no longer welcome among us.’
Similarly, Shammari said the president should resign and be ‘banished’ from Baghdad, noting, ‘The hands of this man Trump are covered in Iraqi blood.’
‘Most Iraqi people consider this meeting treacherous. We no longer accept Salih as our representative and won’t rest until he’s held accountable for going against the will of the Iraqi parliament and disregarding our martyrs’ blood,’ he said.