Baghdad, 28 July 2022 (TDI): Iraqi protesters, numbering in the hundreds, stormed Baghdad’s parliament building on Wednesday. This protest took place as a demonstration against a nominee for prime minister selected by Iran-backed parties.
No lawmakers were present in the parliament building when the protesters penetrated the capital’s high-security Green Zone.
Baghdad’s Green Zone is home to government buildings and diplomatic missions, besides having a parliament building.
Protesters breached the green zone with the help of a crane. Protesters used cranes to remove concrete barriers from the heavily fortified area, which also contains the United States embassy.
Only security forces were inside the parliament building, and they appeared to allow the protesters in with relative ease.
The protesters opposed the candidacy of Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, a former minister and also an ex-provincial governor, for the premiership.
Shia al-Sudani was nominated for the premiership on Monday by the largest bloc in parliament, the pro-Iran Coordination Framework.
Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi called on the protesters to “immediately withdraw” from the Green Zone. He also said “the protection of state institutions and foreign missions, and prevent any harm to security and order.”
يدعو القائد العام للقوات المسلحة أبناءه المتظاهرين إلى الالتزام بسلميتهم، والحفاظ على الممتلكات العامة والخاصة، وبتعليمات القوات الأمنية المسؤولة عن حمايتهم حسب الضوابط والقوانين، والانسحاب الفوري من المنطقة الخضراء. pic.twitter.com/svrG5Nwb4D
— المكتب الإعلامي لرئيس الوزراء 🇮🇶 (@IraqiPMO) July 27, 2022
Iraqi’s political factions
Most of the protesters were the followers of the Iraqi Shia leader Muqtada-al-Sadr. Al-Sadr’s bloc won 73 seats in Iraq’s October 2021 election, making it the largest faction in the 329-seat parliament.
Yesterday’s protests were also the biggest since federal elections held in October, since then the politicians have failed to form the government.
Hours after al-Sadr’s followers occupied the parliament building, he asked the protestors to return safely to their homes in a bid to reduce escalation.
Inside the parliament, protestors were also filmed walking on tables and holding Iraqi flags. Furthermore, protestors wandered around the parliament building waving national flags, taking photographs, chanting, and cheering.