An Iraqi man brought along an unusual companion to an anti-government protest — a lion wrapped in the country’s flag.
Bizarre footage shows the demonstrator holding the big cat by a chain during recent clashes in Iraq, according to the UK’s Independent.
At one point, the lion lunges at a group of men before resting on the side of a road as his handler sits down beside him.
It was unclear where the video was shot, but in the past few weeks there have been several protests in the capital of Baghdad and the country’s southern provinces.
At least 320 people have died so far and thousands have been wounded in clashes with security forces across the country as people protest corruption and express their discontent with economic hardships.
Police have used live rounds, rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse hundreds of people near Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the demonstrations against the country’s political establishment.
On Friday, security forces fired live rounds and tear gas at protesters in the central square, killing three people, in bloody confrontations that continued despite an influential Shiite leader’s call for calm.
Soldiers and riot police began firing live rounds and tear gas at hundreds of protesters who removed concrete barriers and streamed into the square.
Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani emphasized support for the protesters in his weekly religious sermon, saying none of their demands have been met so far and that electoral reform should be a priority.
He called for a new election law that would restore public confidence in the system and give voters the opportunity to bring “new faces” to power.
The powerful cleric said a fair electoral law should give voters the ability to replace current political leaders with “new faces.”
“Passing a law that does not give such an opportunity to voters would be unacceptable and useless,” he said in his weekly sermon Friday.
“If those in power think they can evade dealing with real reform by procrastination, they are mistaken. What comes after the protests is not the same as before, so be careful,” he warned.
With Post wires
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