Shafaq News/ On Monday, the Minister of Al-Sadr, Saleh Muhammad al-Iraqi, called on supporters of the Sadrist movement to demonstrate, in all governorates, except in Najaf. In contrast, the Coordination Framework supporters will gather in the vicinity of the Green Zone in Baghdad.
Al-Iraqi called "the brothers in the governorates to support their brothers in the Green Zone by demonstrating peacefully, at 0500 p.m."
On the other hand, the CF's Preparatory Committee for Supporting Legitimacy and Preserving State Institutions demanded from their supporters to demonstrate on the roads near the suspension bridge in Baghdad at 0500 p.m."
The Framework said its appeal is to all Iraqis who want "to defend the state, its legitimacy, its constitutional institutions, and the democratic process."
The Committee stressed that the demonstration would not include entering the Green Zone, where the Sadrist supporters are deployed.
The CF supporters were directed to hold "only the Iraqi flag, and the banners of Imam Hussein and the honorable clans."
Tensions have worsened since an October election in which al-Sadr's movement emerged as the biggest bloc with 74 of parliament's 329 seats.
After failing to overturn the result in the courts, the Iran-backed factions set about stymying al-Sadr's efforts to form a government that would include his Kurdish and Sunni allies but excludes groups he described as corrupt or loyal to external forces.
Despite their diminished numbers in parliament, the Iran-aligned groups managed to frustrate al-Sadr by denying the two-thirds quorum needed to elect a Kurdish head of state - the first step towards forming a government.
Frustrated at the deadlock, Sadr instructed his lawmakers to quit parliament in June. The move ceded dozens of seats to the Coordination Framework, meaning it could try to form a government of its choosing, though this would risk al-Sadr's wrath.
Al-Sadr's rivals then floated a candidate, Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, seen by al-Sadr's supporters as a Maliki loyalist. This step appears to have been the final straw for Sadr supporters, igniting the protests.
In a statement he issued earlier today, al-Sadr, the arch-foe of the Shiite Coordination Framework, instructed his followers to push for a complete overhaul of the political system, including a new constitution, and expel the country's elites whom he condemned as "corrupt."
In response, the Coordination Framework said it will defend "the legitimacy of the Iraqi state" against Muqtada al-Sadr's calls to "overthrow the state and constitution," calling for mass counter-demonstrations today.