Supporters of prominent Shi’a cleric Muqtada al-Sadr are reportedly attempting to enter the grounds of the Presidential Palace as of August 29, reports Crisis 24.
The latest demonstrations appear to have been prompted by al-Sadr’s announcement on Aug. 29 that he would permanently withdraw from politics and that he would close all Sadrist offices in the country. Al-Sadr’s supporters have been organizing sit-ins in the country’s parliament since late July, demanding the dissolution of parliament and new elections.
Iraqi authorities will likely maintain an increased security presence across Baghdad, particularly in the Green Zone, through at least late August. Protesters stormed the parliament building, July 27; further similar actions against government institutions remain possible. Counter-protests by supporters of political parties opposed to al-Sadr also remain likely.
Ground transport and business disruptions remain likely near any protest activity that may erupt. Security forces will likely deploy water cannons, tear gas, and other crowd control measures to disperse protesters. Clashes cannot be ruled, particularly if activists become overly disruptive or refuse to heed security forces’ orders.