Global Independent Analytics

Iraqi Shia protesters storm Baghdad parliament

"The people have come to the right place, to rule themselves"

BBC News reporting: Iraq’s parliament in Baghdad was taken by hundreds of Shia Muslim activists in protest against continuing deadlock in approving a new cabinet. A state of emergency was declared soon after and security forces near the US embassy fired tear gas.

Majority of these activists consists of cleric Moqtada Sadr’s supporters. They broke through barricades of the fortified Green Zone, after the announcement was made that MPs failed to assemble for voting again.

Mr. Sadr wants Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to commit to a plan to replace ministers with non-partisan technocrats. Powerful parties in parliament have refused to approve the change for several weeks.

One protester, Ali Mohammed, said they were angry at the politicians' failure to act.

"The people have come to the right place, to rule themselves," he told Reuters news agency.

"The people are now staging a sit-in inside parliament. Our legitimate and only demand is to dismiss the government and replace it with an independent cabinet of technocrats."

The state of emergency declared does not feature a curfew.

Country’s president Fuad Masum has already issued a statement in which he asked the protesters to vacate the government buildings and allow the politicians to reassemble.

EU foreign affairs Chief Federica Mogherini criticized the protesters' actions, saying it was in the interests of the Iraqi people to restore order rapidly.

"It appears a deliberate disruption of the democratic process," she said in a statement.

By Stefan Paraber for GIA

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