BAGHDAD: For a second day on Sunday, hundreds of supporters of prominent Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr occupied the country’s parliament to demonstrate political corruption.
They rushed the complex on Saturday despite tear gas, water cannons, and sweltering temperatures that reached 47 degrees Celsius after knocking down sizable concrete barricades on motorways leading to Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone of diplomatic and administrative buildings (116 degrees Fahrenheit).
At least 100 demonstrators and 25 security personnel were harmed in the altercation, according to the health ministry. Despite extensive negotiations between groups, Iraq remains without a new government nearly ten months after the October elections.
According to analysts, Sadr, a volatile cleric who once led a militia against the US and Iraqi government forces, is utilizing street demonstrations to convey that his opinions must be taken into consideration when a new administration is formed. The European Union and the United Nations both issued warnings about rising tensions.
The selection of former cabinet minister Mohammed al-Sudani for the position of prime minister by a rival Shia party that is pro-Iran served as the immediate catalyst for the occupation. The protesters celebrated the Muslim month of Muharram on Sunday morning with religious chants and a group feast.