Tens of thousands of people turned out for the event, which was held in Sadr City in northern Baghdad, an area named for Sayyed Moqtada’s father, Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Sadiq al-Sadr, who was killed along with two of Sayyed Moqtada’s brothers in 1999 by gunmen sent by dictator Saddam Hussein.
The last US occupation soldiers except for a small number under US embassy authority departed Iraq in mid-December, after almost nine years in the country.
“The armies of resistance terrified the occupiers, so they left after they lost,” Sayyed Sadr said in a recorded message broadcast on a large screen at the celebrations.
American forces “turned from being a liberating army, as they said, into an occupying army,” his eminence said.
“The occupying forces were working for strife and destruction and to destabilize security. The occupier is not the one who can bring peace and safety to Iraq, but rather you, and only you.”
“Yes, yes, to unity, yes, yes, to peace, yes, yes, to resistance,” Sayyed Sadr’s supporters chanted.
His eminence also called “on the government to release the resisters,” in an apparent reference to anti-US fighters detained by Iraqi authorities.
Thousands of Sadr Movement members marched in formation with Iraqi flags at the event, while supporters gathered on the roadside, some holding banners reading, “No, no to America, no, no to israel.”