Iraqi Parliament Approves Partial Cabinet Change Amid 'Million Man March'
Some protesters arrived weeks before the march.
Byby ELIZABETH MCLAUGHLIN
April 26, 2016, 7:09 PM
• 3 min read
-- Thousands of Iraqis traveled to Baghdad Tuesday to voice their opposition to government leaders, rallying for an end to political corruption.
The "million-man march" was called for by influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr ahead of a scheduled parliament session to vote on a new government.
Many of the protesters are aligned with former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and have demanded the resignation of the current Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, as well as other high-level leaders.
The Parliament approved a partial cabinet "reshuffle," originally proposed by al-Abadi.
The move would transfer key portfolios to independent technocrats in an effort to rid the government of "patronage and corruption that have hindered the provision of public services since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion," according to The Associated Press.
In preparation for the massive protests, Iraqi security forces blocked off all roads leading to the downtown Tahrir Square with razor wire and concrete blocks.
Some protesters arrived several weeks ago and have been holding a "sit-in" outside of the heavily guarded Green Zone, creating huge traffic jams in parts of the city.
Many demonstrators carried photos of Muqtada al-Sadr and praised him with songs.
Protesters said they would not leave Tahrir Square until a new government was in place, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Col. Steve Warren, the U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, said American military personnel and operations were not affected by today’s protests.