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Protesters closed large roads in cities across Iraq on Sunday night, escalating their campaign for political change, as the clock ticked down the final hours to their deadline for the government to meet their demands for reform.

In Najaf, demonstrators burned pictures of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and tore down posters of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis the former leader of Iraq’s Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), or Hashd al-Shaabi, the umbrella grouping of Iraq’s mostly Shia militias.

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