Baghdad and other Iraq’s regions have been facing the protests since Tuesday. The protests have turned violent as the security forces used live ammunition, water cannons and tear gas to disperse demonstrators. The protesters call for the government to be dismissed. Moreover, they demand jobs, economic reforms and fighting against corruption.
"I call on the government to hand over their resignation immediately. I also call for an early and fair election, monitored by the international community. We cannot remain silent with all these martyrs and bloodshed," Sadr said in a statement, as quoted by the Rudaw broadcaster, late on Friday.
Earlier on that day, Sadr called on lawmakers from Saairun, the largest bloc in the Iraqi parliament, to halt their activities in the legislature until the government responded to protesters’ demands.
Early on Thursday, the authorities introduced a curfew in Baghdad. The measure was subsequently expanded to Najaf, Maysan, Dhi Qar, Babylon and Wasit provinces. However, the protests continued. Media reported late on Friday that the curfew will be lifted starting early on Saturday, however, the reports did not specify the regions where the restrictions would be cancelled.
Moreover, the authorities blocked internet access across Baghdad and several other regions in central and southern Iraq.
Crossings on Iraq’s border with Iran have been closed due to the ongoing rallies.