Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric condemns anti-protester violence, 'vandals'

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraq’s top Shi’ite Muslim cleric on Friday condemned the use of lethal force against protesters and urged demonstrators to reject acts of violence and vandalism, warning against another spiral of violence in the war-weary country.

“Attacks against peaceful protesters are forbidden,” a representative of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said, addressing worshippers at Friday prayer in the holy city of Kerbala.

Protesters “must not allow peaceful demonstrations to be turned into attacks on property or people … and peaceful demonstrators should coordinate to eject vandals,” he said.

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