Pro-Sadr protesters vacate Baghdad’s Green Zone

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — pro-Sadr supporters of Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr have begun to withdraw from the Iraqi parliament and Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone after Sadr in a televised speech called to vacate.

Local Iraqi media reported that Baghdad’s situation is de-escalating after Sadr in a televised speech on Tuesday noon apologized to the Iraqi people and urged his supporter to evacuate the Green in a matter of 60 minutes, further raising hopes that stability would be restored after fears instability might spread throughout the country and even the region.

The pro-Sadr protesters have begun to vacate the Iraqi parliament withdrawing from Baghdad’s warzones after hours of deadly armed clashes with other Shiite rival groups, according to Iraqi media.

“This is not a revolutionary (anymore) because it has lost its peaceful character,” Sadr said in the televised speech. “The spilling of Iraqi blood is forbidden,” he added.

The Iraqi joint operation command in a tweet announced that it was decided to lift the nationwide curfew after it was imposed yesterday to prevent further tensions.

Minutes after Sadr’s speech United Nations Assistance Misson for Iraq in a statement welcomed the declaration by Sadr, saying “UNAMI welcomes the most recent moderate declaration by Sayed Muqtada al-Sadr.”

Baghdad’s chaos began when Sadr announced that he has retired from political life, and his supporters stormed the Green Zone, the home to Iraqi government offices and foreign embassies.

Eventually, pro-Sadr supporters breached the gates of the government palace. Hours later they appeared on live television firing both machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades into the heavily-fortified Green Zone, while security forces sporadically returned fire and armored tanks lined up.

At least 23 people were killed, according to medics, before Sadr called his loyalists to go home.

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