2 It is the second time in days that Sadr supporters have forced their way in to the legislative chamber, months after elections that failed to lead to formation of a government.
4 They entered after thousands of protesters had massed at the end of a bridge leading to the Green Zone before dozens tore down concrete barriers protecting it and ran inside, the photographer reported.
5 Security forces had fired tear gas near an entrance to the district, home to foreign embassies and other government buildings as well as parliament.
6 Some protesters on the bridge were injured and carried off by their fellow demonstrators.
7 “All the people are with you Sayyed Moqtada,” the protesters chanted, using his title as a descendant of the Prophet Mohammed.
8 Sadr’s bloc emerged from elections in October as the biggest parliamentary faction, but was still far short of a majority and, 10 months on, deadlock persists over the establishment of a new government.
9 Supporters of the populist Shiite cleric oppose the recently announced candidacy of Mohammed al-Sudani, a former minister and ex-provincial governor, who is the pro-Iran Coordination Framework’s pick for premier.
10 The protests are the latest challenge for oil-rich Iraq, which remains mired in a political and a socio-economic crisis despite elevated global crude prices.
11 Saturday’s demonstration comes three days after crowds of Sadr supporters breached the Green Zone despite volleys of tear gas fire from the police.
12 They occupied the parliament building, singing, dancing and taking selfies before leaving two hours later but only after Sadr told them to leave.
13 ‘Revolution’On Saturday, security forces shut off roads in the capital leading to the Green Zone with massive blocks of concrete.
“We are here for a revolution,” said protester Haydar al-Lami.
“We don’t want the corrupt; we don’t want those who have been in power to return… since 2003, they have only brought us harm.