News ID: 134519
Published: 1025 GMT January 06, 2016

Iraqis, Greeks stage protests against Saudi execution of Nimr

Iraqis, Greeks stage protests against Saudi execution of Nimr

People have taken to the streets of the capitals of Iraq and Greece against Saudi Arabia’s recent execution of a prominent Shia clergyman.

Two thousand protesters gathered at Baghdad's Tahrir Square on Wednesday to express their anger at the Al Saud regime’s killing of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.

The demonstrators were holding flags and banners bearing the portrait of the executed Shia cleric.

Members of Iraqi popular defense groups including Kata’ib Hezbollah, the Badr Movement and Asaib Ahl al-Haq, were present at Wednesday’s event.

"Our demands to the Iraqi government are clear," said Maytham al-Allaq, a leader of the Waad Allah (Promise of God) popular forces, adding, "They include the expulsion of the Saudi ambassador from Iraq and return of the Iraqi ambassador from Riyadh.”

The Saudi embassy in Iraq was reopened on January 1 after being closed since 1990, when former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, prompting Riyadh to cut ties with Baghdad. 

On January 2, the Saudi Interior Ministry announced that the cleric along with 46 others, who were convicted of being involved in “terrorism” and adopting a “Takfiri” ideology, had been put to death. The Saudi execution has come under widespread criticism - though mildly - from the UN, the EU and the US as well as some of the kingdom's own allies. 

Elsewhere in the Greek capital city of Athens, people marched towards the Saudi embassy on Wednesday while riot police formed a wall outside the diplomatic mission.

The protesters were shouting slogans and carrying banners in condemnation of Nimr’s execution by the Riyadh regime.

"We ask Saudi Arabia to stop 'investing' in terrorism. We ask Saudi Arabia to stop nurturing extremists and fanatics and let them kill simple Muslims," said Ashir Haider, a representative of the Shia Muslim Community of Greece, who was among those attending the rally.

Sheikh Nimr, a critic of the Riyadh regime, was arrested in 2012 and charged with instigating unrest and undermining the kingdom’s security. He had rejected all the charges as baseless.

In 2014, a Saudi court sentenced Nimr to death, provoking widespread global condemnations.

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