Three months before protesters stormed Diwaniyah, fateful clashes erupted in the holy shrine city of Karbala after an attempted arrest on Sheikh Sarkhi failed. In the clashed the broke out between security forces and Sarkhi loyalists, 45 people were killed. In 2006, his followers were also attacked for having staged a protest outside the Iranian consulate in Basra.
Protesters channeled their anger towards an a life-size effigy of Nouri al Maliki, which they hurled stones, tomatoes, and slippers at. Maliki is viewed by locals as Iran’s main man in Iraq, and the figure most culpable for what has happened in Iraq.