Protesters have to counter rioters as violence hinders true reforms: Grand Ayatollah Sistani
Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Sistani has said that violence and chaos will only hinder true reforms as demanded by ongoing anti-corruption and economic protesters in Iraq, calling on demonstrators to counter violent rioters.
According to reports, addressing worshipers during Friday prayers in the holy city of Karbala, the Grand Ayatollah said protests are effective in hastening needed reforms on the condition that they "are not drawn to violent acts, chaos and destruction."
"Conserving the peaceful nature of the protests and keeping them far from violence and destruction is very important and everyone needs to unite in achieving such," a representative of Grand Ayatollah Sistani said as he delivered his sermon.
The top cleric added that the protesters should not allow rioters to infiltrate the rallies and target "security forces and destroy public and private property" just as protecting the lives of protesters is the responsibility of the security forces.
During his statements, Grand Ayatollah Sistani also said that a new prime minister must be chosen "without any foreign interference" and partisan politics after the incumbent Adel Abdul-Mahdi tendered his resignation a week ago.
"We hope a new head of government and its members will be chosen within the constitutional deadline" of 15 days since the resignation was approved in parliament on Sunday, Grand Ayatollah Sistani said.
On Thursday, a mass rally was held in the country's capital city of Baghdad to show support for the top cleric's earlier calls for peaceful protests.
The protesters also chanted slogans and carried placards decrying US, Israeli and Saudi meddling in the country.