Demonstrators gathered by the thousands waving flags and pictures of Sadr on Saturday. After the Parliament building was stormed, some were said to have photographed the occupation, while others took their seats in offices inside the building.
– We’re here for a revolution. “We do not want the corrupt and we do not want the return of those who were in power,” Haider al-Lami, who is participating in the protests, told AFP.
Al-Sadr’s movement said in a brief statement, that the protesters intend to remain in parliament until further notice.
Criticize the nomination
Supporters of the Shiite nationalist al-Sadr criticize attempts to form a government by a pro-Iranian bloc that nominated Muhammad al-Sudani as prime minister.
Iraqi security forces used tear gas and sound cannons to quell protests in the capital’s heavily fortified government district. Roads to the so-called Green Zone, where many political institutions and embassies are located, were closed.
The country’s health ministry says 125 people have been injured in the unrest – 100 civilians and 25 members of the security forces.
Acting Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi, in a statement, called on the security forces to protect the demonstrators and allow the protests to take place.
The protests add to the political crisis in the country, which remains without a new government, nine months after the parliamentary elections.
The crisis worsened last month after 73 deputies from al-Sadr’s bloc resigned in an attempt to end the political impasse. 64 new members were appointed, making the pro-Iranian bloc the largest in parliament.
On Wednesday, hundreds of followers of the Shiite preacher stormed the parliament building after announcing the nomination of Muhammad al-Sudani for the position of prime minister. Then they left the parliament building after a call from Muqtada al-Sadr.
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