A leader in Iraq's populist cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr's movement, Asaad Al-Nasiri, yesterday split from the movement announcing his support for thousands of anti-government protesters.
On Saturday, Al-Sadr ordered the freezing of Sheikh Asaad Al-Nasiri's membership in the body for disobeying orders to stop involvement in the anti-government protests.
Al-Nasiri, who is close to Al-Sadr, said in a statement: "I will take off the turban for the love of Iraq and the city of Nasiriyah and the revolutionaries, and I am with the Iraqis."
This is the first split in Sadr's movement following its leader's decision to end the movement's involvement in the protests.
On Saturday, Iraqi security forces fired bullets and tear gas at protesters in Baghdad, Basra, Dhi Qar and Diwaniya, a few hours after Sadr supporters withdrew from the protests' camps.