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Anti-government rallies swell in Baghdad and south Iraq

Anti-government rallies swelled in Iraq’s capital and south on Wednesday as Baghdad faced new pressure from both the street and the UN to respond seriously to weeks of demonstrations.

Protests demanding a new leadership have rocked the capital and Shiite-majority south for weeks.

Demonstrators appear to have been revived after the country’s top Shiite religious authority Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani said they “cannot go home without sufficient reforms.”

The head of the UN’s mission in Iraq (UNAMI), Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, planned to address the main political blocs and brief lawmakers on her meeting with Sistani, who in a significant move backed a UN roadmap out of the crisis, AFP said.