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Iraqi Shiite leader dissolves loyal group as demonstration returns to peaceful course

BAGHDAD, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) — Iraqi prominent Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Tuesday dissolved his loyalist group of Blue Hats, who were tasked to protect the anti-government protests in Iraq.

Al-Sadr tweeted that he dissolved the Blue Hats and called on them to merge with the demonstrators without declaring that they are part of al-Sadr Movement.

He said that his move came because the protests return to its original peaceful course, despite that there are still some violent advocates.

Al-Sadr also called on the security forces to protect the peaceful protesters from any other party.

The Blue Hats are unarmed group loyal to al-Sadr and were tasked to protect the anti-government demonstrations in Baghdad and other central and southern Iraqi cities.

However, violent acts and clashes occurred with the demonstrators in Baghdad and other cities during the protests, which resulted in the killing and wounding of dozens of demonstrators and al-Sadr loyalists.

Mass anti-government demonstrations have been continuing in Baghdad and other cities in central and southern Iraq since October of 2019, demanding comprehensive reform, fight against corruption, better public services and more jobs.

According to Iraq’s Independent High Commission for Human Rights, the nationwide anti-government protests of over four months has caused the death of 544, with 23,700 others wounded.

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