Moqtada al-Sadr.jpg
Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr
Photograph: By Sdfahm0 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Thousands of followers of Iraq's influential Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr went on strike Sunday as part of his campaign to push for government reforms.

The stoppage comes in response to a call from al-Sadr for state employees across the country to stage a two-day strike to protest corruption.

Some strikers are gathering inside tents outside their workplaces in the capital Baghdad.

State servants in other parts of Iraq have meanwhile stayed away from work in response to al-Sadr’s call, independent website Alsumaria News reported.

Most workers at government departments in the eastern Diyala province heeded the call for strike, the website said, citing a local official.

"The strike is not limited to a certain group. There is participation from all categories of employees who believe in the importance of al-Sadr’s call in order to confront corruption," said Samira al-Zubeidi, a member of the Diayala council.

In recent months, al-Sadr has repeatedly demanded for a government formed of independent technocrats and for officials suspected of corruption to be brought to justice.

Iraqi governments have been formed along political and sectarian lines since the US-led 2003 invasion that deposed dictator Saddam Hussein.

Critics say the system contributes to corruption and incompetency in state institutions.

Protesters, most of them al-Sadr supporters, in April and May stormed Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, home to government offices and foreign embassies.

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