Tens of thousands of Iraqi Shiites have held a protest against corruption in a rally in downtown Baghdad called by influential cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

The rally Friday in Baghdad's Tahrir Square appeared in part to be an attempt by al-Sadr to show his strength. Weekly protests have been held frequently against corruption, but usually only a few hundred people attended, until al-Sadr this week called on his followers to join.

"No, no, to corruption," and "The people are all with you, Sayed Muqtada," the flag-waving crowd chanted as al-Sadr gave a speech to the gathering.

Progress has been stalled for months on an anti-corruption reform package proposed by Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi last year.