“The security forces affirm their responsibility to protect government institutions, international missions, public and private properties,” the Iraqi military said in a statement.On Tuesday, Iraq’s military lifted the nationwide curfew after al-Sadr's supporters began withdrawing from the streets. al-Sadr has moved to deescalate tensions, calling for his supporters to stand down and leave Baghdad’s Green Zone.
Regardless of who started the sedition yesterday,” he said, referring to the violent clashes, “I say that my head is down and I apologize to the Iraqi people.”
al-Sadr added that anyone who did not comply with his order would be considered no longer loyal to him, reports the New York Times. He also called for his supporters to dismantle their protest camps.
Muqtada al-Sadr, who opposed both U.S. and Iranian influence on Iraqi politics, won election in October but withdrew all his lawmakers from parliament in June after he failed to form a government that excluded his rivals, according to Reuters.
The U.N. mission in Iraq said the protests were an “extremely dangerous escalation,” and called on demonstrators to vacate all government buildings, writes the AP.