NEWS | Iraqi Parliament Under-siege, State of Emergency Declared for Baghdad

NEWS | Iraqi Parliament Under-siege, State of Emergency Declared for Baghdad

NEWS | Iraqi Parliament Under-siege, State of Emergency Declared for Baghdad

Several hundred protesters have stormed into the secure Green Zone in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad and some have entered the parliament building. 
Iraqi officials declared a state of emergency for all of Baghdad city after the protesters breached the heavily fortified Green Zone, home to government buildings and foreign embassies, including the American one.

The April 30 protests were conducted by supporters of Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr after lawmakers refused to hold a vote on reforming the government.

There were no reports of violence, although Iraqi security forces were deployed to protect embassies, government buildings, and other sensitive objects in the area. Security forces did not try to prevent the protesters from entering the parliament building.

Security forces have also blocked roads leading into the center of the city to prevent more protesters from reaching the area.

Government sources have refused to confirm a media report that Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi has left his Green Zone office for an undisclosed secure location.
The United Nations said it is "gravely concerned" about the protests. The UN's Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) is located in the Green Zone.

Sadr supporters have been demonstrating for several weeks to pressure Abadi to carry out promised reforms. Some parliamentary parties, however, are resisting Abadi's efforts to replace some officials -- who were chosen to maintain sectarian and ethnic balances -- with technocrats.

Based on reporting by AFP, AP and Reuters / Images from Getty
Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.


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