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Fears of clashes as Iraq Shia militia supporters hold protests

Image of Shia Iraqi militias on 19 November 2016 [ZamanAlwslEng‏/Twitter]
Shia Iraqi militias on 19 November 2016 [ZamanAlwslEng‏/Twitter]

Hundreds of pro-Iran militia supporters organised a protest in the Iraqi capital Baghdad near Tahrir Square, the stronghold of anti-establishment protesters, raising fears of clashes between the two sides, Anadolu Agency reported.

According to the news site, the participants raised the flags of the pro-Iran Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) armed militias along with the Iraqi flags and chanted slogans against Israel and the US.

The Iraqi anti-establishment protesters have been critical of Iran’s influence in the country.

The gathering came in response to calls by Iraq’s Hezbollah Brigades, an Iraqi Shia paramilitary group that is supported by Iran.

Anadolu learned that the pro-Iran militia supporters intend to hold another rally today.

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“The gathering is very similar to rallies organised by the Iranian regime in response to anti-government protests there,” Qasim Abdul Jabbar, a Baghdad activist, told Anadolu.

“We have been demonstrating for more than two months and we only raised the Iraqi flag and demanded our legal and constitutional rights,” he added.

Many protesters accuse the PMF of participating in the crackdown on anti-government protests.

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