Baghdad — Iraqi police are firing tear gas at anti-government protesters in the capital, Baghdad,AP reports. The protests Saturday were called by influential Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who is demanding that local elections be held on schedule this year. Some Iraqi politicians have called for a delay due to the ongoing fight against the Islamic State group.
Al-Sadr has been a vocal critic of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, and last year protests that included many of his followers breached the highly fortified Green Zone twice.
Al-Abadi has called for protesters to remain peaceful so that the country’s security forces can focus on the IS fight, according to a statement released from his office. The Green Zone is home to most of Iraq’s foreign embassies and the seats of Iraq’s government.