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  |   Politics


Iraq: Protesters storm parliament amidst nomination of new PM

Giorgio Montersino / Wikimedia Commons

This week, protesters, most of whom were made up of supporters of Iraqi Shia leader Muqtada-al-Sadr, stormed the Iraqi parliament. The demonstrators went past the Green Zone in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, protesting against the nomination of a pro-Iran candidate for prime minister.

Hundreds of protesters stormed the Iraqi parliament, breaching the Green Zone to oppose the nomination of a pro-Iran candidate. No lawmakers were present when the protesters entered parliament Wednesday. Law enforcement officials that were in the building appeared to allow the protesters to go in.

The protesters oppose the candidacy of former minister and provincial governor Mohammed Shia al-Sudani. al-Sudani belongs to the Iran-backed Coordination Framework, which nominated him for prime minister.

Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi called on the demonstrators to leave the Green Zone, the high-security area of the capital. al-Kadhimi issued a statement warning the protesters that security forces would ensure the “protection of state institutions and foreign missions, and prevent any harm to security and order.”

This comes as al-Sadr’s bloc won the largest number of seats during the general election in 2021, taking 79 out of 329. However, after the vote, talks to form a new government were put on hold, and al-Sadr stepped down from the process.

Riot police dispersed the protests with water cannons on the demonstrators who were pulling down cement blast walls. Still, the protestors had already breached the gates, moving past the Green Zone.

“They want to convey their message that they are against corruption, against corrupt politicians,” said Mahmoud Abdelwahed of Al Jazeera. “They say the country has suffered many years of corruption and mismanagement…they say they will continue to protest peacefully here.”

Al-Sadr later issued a statement on Twitter, telling the protesters to go home and that their message was received.

On the same day, the Turkish consulate-general in the northern Iraq city of Mosul was reportedly attacked. The Turkish foreign ministry issued a statement condemning the attack, calling for those responsible for being brought to justice. No casualties were reported.

The ministry said the attack came at the same time the United Nations Security Council held a meeting at the request of Iraqi authorities to discuss an attack in northern Iraq that took place last week.

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