Watch: Iraqi Protesters Storm Parliament Amid Record Run Without Government
On Wednesday hundreds of followers of the hardline Iraqi Shia cleric, militia leader, and politician Muqtada al-Sadr overwhelmed security in Baghdad’s Green Zone, where they were able to breach and storm the country’s parliament building.
The protests came amid political friction which pits al-Sadr’s bloc, which won a majority as the largest faction in the 329-seat parliament during prior October elections, against the pro-Iran Coordination Framework faction. The latter group’s nomination for prime minister, Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, is being fiercely opposed by al-Sadr’s followers.
BREAKING: Protestors in Baghdad have stormed into #Iraq’s Parliament inside the Green Zone in biggest demonstration since 2020. Mostly followers of Shia cleric Muqtada Sadr: pic.twitter.com/RBlm9xpGFS
— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) July 27, 2022
The high secured Green Zone has since the US invasion and occupation of Iraq been home to all major government branches, embassies and diplomatic missions, and international institutions. However, some local correspondents have suggested based on video to emerge of the protests that security stood down after being overwhelmed by the crowds. Police were seen milling about the building alongside protesters.
There were reportedly no Iraqi lawmakers inside parliament at the time, with the crowds occupying the building and chanting political slogans.
Caretaker Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi demanded that the demonstrators “immediately withdraw” from the Green Zone, warning that he would send additional security forces to ensure “the protection of state institutions and foreign missions, and prevent any harm to security and order.”
— AlSharqiya TV – قناة الشرقية (@alsharqiyatv) July 27, 2022
The country’s politics have been gridlocked and essentially without a new government ever since the October vote.
Reuters notes that “Iraq marked its longest post-election deadlock on Wednesday, as lawmakers’ failure to form a government hampers reforms needed for a country struggling to recover from decades of conflict.”
— Mohammad Ali Musawi (@malimusawi) July 27, 2022
“More than nine months since an October election, lawmakers tasked with choosing a president and prime minister looked no closer to an agreement, bringing Iraq to a record 290 days without a head of state or cabinet,” the report describes.
Wed, 07/27/2022 – 14:46