Iraqi Protesters Break into Parliament in Baghdad’s Green Zone

Hundreds of Iraqi demonstrators stormed the heavily fortified parliament building in Baghdad on Wednesday in protest against the Iran-backed party’s nomination for prime minister. 

The demonstrators said they disagreed with the candidacy of the pro-Iran Coordination Framework’s pick for premier Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, a former minister and ex-provincial governor. 

Reports said no lawmakers were present in the Green Zone, where government buildings and diplomatic missions are. 

Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi called on the demonstrators to “immediately withdraw” from the Green Zone and warned that security forces would see to “the protection of state institutions and foreign missions and prevent any harm to security and order.” 

Reports said the demonstrators, mostly followers of Iraqi Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr, carried portraits of al-Sadr, with some scaling the cement wall of the two entrances of the Green Zone and chanting, “Al-Sudani, out!” 

In October 2021 election, Al-Sadr’s party won 73 seats, the largest faction in the 329-seat Iraqi parliament. 

However, talks to form a new government have stalled since the vote, and al-Sadr withdrew from the political process. 

According to reports, al-Sadr later called on the demonstrators to return home safely, and soon after, they began making their way out of the parliament building. 

In 2016, al-Sadr supporters also stormed the parliament, staged a sit-in, and demanded political reform after then-Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi. 

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