Thousands of followers of Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr rally in southern Iraq to urge the government to speed up reforms and end widespread corruption. Ashraf Fahim reports.
Supporters of Moqtada al-Sadr answer the cleric's call, filling the streets of Basra and Najaf in southern Iraq. They're demanding the Iraqi government end widespread corruption and show that it's serious about carrying out reforms. Sadr joined a sit-in in Baghdad's Green Zone on Saturday calling on Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi to make good on his recent promise to replace ministers accused of graft, with technocrats unaffiliated with political parties. Local sheikh Abu Aqeel al-Mansouri says it's time for action. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) BASRA RESIDENT, SHEIKH ABU AQEEL AL-MANSOURI, SAYING: "Corruption is rife and the government is not serious about reforms. We therefore rallied today in Basra province to express our support for the reforms called for by the leader Sayyid Moqtada al-Sadr Iraq's parliament has given al-Abadi three days to present a new cabinet. And as the protests gather pace the pressure is on for Abadi to finally deliver on his promises.