Thousands took to the streets of Baghdad and Southern Shi’ite cities in Iraq on Monday in protest over the Saudi execution of Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.
Demonstrators carrying portraits of Nimr rallied outside the Green Zone, a heavily fortified district that houses government departments and diplomatic representations, including the newly reopened Saudi embassy.Police guarding the zone pushed back a group that attempted to cross a line of barbed wire as they chanted “Damned, damned be Al Saud!,” referring to the Saudi ruling family.
There were similar protests in Basra, southern Iraq’s biggest city, and in the holy Shi’ite cities of Najaf and Kerbala.
RT reports: The crowd at Tahrir Square in central Baghdad demanded the government boycott Saudi commercial goods in response to Saudi Arabia’s latest executions.
While burning photos of King Salman of Saudi Arabia near Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone, angry Iraqis called on Baghdad to reconsider the re-opening of the Saudi embassy. The embassy was reopened only last month after being closed since 1990.
“We demand that the Saudi embassy be closed down and all Saudi interests terminated,” one demonstrator Ahmad, told AFP.
— Haidar Sumeri (@IraqiSecurity) January 4, 2016
Monday’s rally became extremely heated as more than 5,000 protesters in central Baghdad threatened to burn down the building.
Meanwhile in Saudi Arabia hundreds gathered to protest against the Riyadh government’s execution of Sheikh Nimr in the Eastern part of the kingdom. They called for the downfall of the Al Saud dynasty.
Large groups of angry protesters chanted slogans such as “Down with Al Saud” in the village of Awamiyah in Qatif region