Powerful Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has called on his supporters to hold a general military parade across the country next Saturday to enhance unity among Iraqis.
“Our beloved country is surrounded by peril and enemies have invaded it. To boost unity and readiness, I call on all of you to hold a military parade across the country as a show of our power to fight against our armed foes,” Sadr said in a statement posted on his website.
A special committee should be formed in order to perform the military parade, the statement added.
On Wednesday, Sadr called on forming defense units against radical militants for protecting country’s religious sites.
A state of emergency was declared in Iraq by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Tuesday after radical militants from the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Levant launched a major offensive in several parts of the country.
Sadr said in an earlier statement that he was ready “to form peace units to defend the holy places” of both Muslims and Christians, in cooperation with the government.