Calm returns to Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone after storming of Parliament

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Iraqi protesters retreated from the parliamentary building in central Baghdad early on Thursday morning after demonstrations against a candidate nominated by a group of Shiite parties.

The protesters, mainly supporters of Shiite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr, began to leave the building, located inside the heavily fortified Green Zone, after instructions from Mr Al Sadr telling them to return home.

“Your message has been received oh beloved ones, and you have terrified the corrupt,” he said on Twitter. “You must now return safely to your homes.”

Supporters of Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, head of the Sadrist movement, gather inside the Iraqi parliament buliding after they stormed the so-called ‘Green Zone’ in central Baghdad, Iraq. Protesters loyal to popular Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr breached the heavily fortified Green Zone, home to government buildings and foreign embassies in Baghdad, protesting against a premiership candidate announced by the Coordination Framework earlier this week. The Iraqi Prime Minister called on the demonstrators to withdraw. EPA-EFE/AHMED JALIL

Protesters were dancing and singing after storming the building, praising Mr Al Sadr and holding his pictures.

“We obey the Sayyed,” the crowds chanted as they calmly left parliament, a term honouring Mr Al Sadr by naming him as a descendant of the Prophet Mohammed.

Some were seen waving the Iraqi flag, walking on tables, sitting in the chairs of parliamentarians and looking through folders and papers.

Security forces were inside the building and they appeared to allow the protesters in with relative ease.

The demonstrations come with Iraq mired in a 10-month political deadlock as parties argue over forming a government.

They have failed to agree on a nomination for the posts of prime minister and president to establish a new Cabinet.

The demonstrators are against the recent nomination of Mohammed Al Sudani for the post of prime minister.

Mr Al Sudani held several positions in government since the US led invasion of 2003 and is known to be aligned with former prime minister Nouri Al Maliki.

Read more via The National

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