Hundreds of protesters stormed Iraq’s parliament for the second time this week.
Followers of influential Shia cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, are demonstrating against efforts by Iran-backed political groups to form the next government.
Security forces deployed tear gas and sound bombs in an attempt to prevent people from entering the parliament building in the capital, Baghdad.
But protesters used ropes to pull down cement barricades leading to the gate of the Green Zone – which is home to official buildings and foreign embassies.
Witnesses said several people were injured in the clashes on Saturday.
The protests erupted as Iraq continues political deadlock, with ordinary people suffering the most as a result of the stand-off.
Al-Sadr’s party won a general election in October, but he failed to form a government that ousted his Shiite rivals – mainly backed by Tehran.
The party abandoned talks to form a government in June – giving the Alliance for Coordination Framework the majority needed to move forward.
But al-Sadr insisted that any new government would have to be free of the foreign influence and corruption that has plagued Iraq for decades – and has promised civil unrest if he does not approve the new regime.
One person among the crowds, Raad Thabet, 41, said: “We came today to remove the corrupt political class and prevent them from holding a parliament session, and to prevent the framework from forming a government.
“We responded to al-Sadr’s call. We will go to the Green (Zone). No matter the cost.”
The stalemate is exacerbated by the fact that al-Sadr’s loyalists are involved in running the country and hold powerful positions within Iraq’s ministries and state organizations.
Hundreds stormed the Iraqi parliament on Wednesday in protest against Mohammed al Sudani is nominated as the official nominee of the Coordination Framework bloc, led by Iran-backed Shiite parties and their allies.
Prime Minister Mustafa al Kadhimi urged the protesters to ‘withdraw immediately’ as he urged people to show calm and restraint.
Why is Iraq in political deadlock?
The selection of a president and prime minister has been a painfully slow process since Saddam Hussein was overthrown by the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.
In March this year, the Iraqi parliament again failed to vote for a president following a boycott by Iran-backed groups.
Al-Sadr had hoped that Rebar Ahmed Khalid, veteran Kurdish intelligence official and interior minister of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region in the north, would be elected.
But only 202 members out of 329 attended the vote – less than the minimum two-thirds required to elect a new president – while 126 officials boycotted the session.
Iraq: Hundreds of protesters break the parliament for the second time this week | World news
Source link Iraq: Hundreds of protesters break the parliament for the second time this week | World news