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Protesters in Iraq splinter over backing of new PM-designate

Protesters in Iraq splinter over backing of new PM-designate

Protest camps in Baghdad and the south began to fracture on Monday, split over whether to back Iraq’s PM-designate Mohammed Allawi, AFP reported, citing activists.

Allawi’s nomination has so far failed to quell the months-long rallies sweeping Baghdad and the mainly-Shiite south, where young demonstrators have demanded nothing short of a total government overhaul.

Most young protesters have rejected Allawi as too close to the ruling elite but powerful cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who has backed the rallies, welcomed his appointment on Saturday. Sadr urged his followers to stay in the streets, creating a rift within protest camps.

Late Sunday, anti-government demonstrators opposed to Allawi’s nomination started to cluster their tents closer together in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, activists said. Earlier, dozens of Sadrists had reportedly stormed a key building in Tahrir that had been occupied for months by protesters, driving out activists and removing banners listing their demands.