Protesters stormed the parliament in Baghdad, the capital of Iraq. They had previously entered the heavily guarded Green Zone.
Protesters in Iraq entered parliament in the capital, Baghdad. The crowd had recently stormed the so-called high-security Green Zone, Iraqi state news agency INA reported.
According to eyewitnesses, first the security forces tried to disperse the crowd. There were also reports of injuries. Television footage showed people waving the Iraqi flag in parliament.
Many supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr among the demonstrators
Thousands of supporters of influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr had previously gathered in the high-security area where the parliament and many embassies were located.
Among other things, they opposed the nomination of former minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani for the post of prime minister. This was suggested by an alliance of parties sympathetic to neighboring Iran.
Deputy Prime Minister calls for resignation
Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces called on the demonstrators to immediately withdraw from parliament and the Green Zone. Sadr also called for a withdrawal. He wrote on Twitter that the protest was a sign of rejection of injustice and corruption.
In the evening, eyewitnesses reported that the crowd gradually withdrew from the safe zone.
A power struggle has been going on in Iraq since the parliamentary elections held last October. Sadr’s list won the most seats. The cleric tried to form a government, but eventually withdrew from parliament along with members of his party.
Is Sadr’s retirement from politics a gamble?
According to experts, Sadr’s special strength lies in his ability to mobilize crowds. Therefore, some observers interpreted his withdrawal from politics as a gamble to put pressure on parties and politicians.
After years of grappling with economic and political crises in the oil-rich country, many Iraqis have lost faith in politics.
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