Followers of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr are seen in central Baghdad, Iraq on April 30, 2016. Thousands of followers of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Saturday stormed the heavily fortified Green Zone in central Baghdad and took control of the parliament building and surrounding areas, while dozens of lawmakers, officials and employees tried to escape the government district. [Xinhua]
. [Xinhua]

Thousands of protesters stormed the heavily fortified government district in central Baghdad on April 30 shortly after Sadr delivered a televised speech from the holy Shiite city of Najaf, in which he rejected the latest approval of partial cabinet members presented by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

Followers of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr are seen in central Baghdad, Iraq on April 30, 2016. Thousands of followers of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Saturday stormed the heavily fortified Green Zone in central Baghdad and took control of the parliament building and surrounding areas, while dozens of lawmakers, officials and employees tried to escape the government district. [Xinhua]
Followers of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr are seen in central Baghdad, Iraq on April 30, 2016. Thousands of followers of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Saturday stormed the heavily fortified Green Zone in central Baghdad and took control of the parliament building and surrounding areas, while dozens of lawmakers, officials and employees tried to escape the government district. [Xinhua]
The protesters took control of the parliament building and surrounding areas, while dozens of lawmakers, officials and employees tried to escape the government district.

Business24

The demonstration is aimed at pressuring Abadi to replace those party-affiliated ministers with independent technocrats.

“Any minister in the Iraqi government is not our candidate and represents only his government,” Sadr said, confirming that he and his followers “will not participate in any political process that includes quota system.”

Sadr referred to the political system created following the U.S. -led invasion in 2003, according to which Iraq’s resources and control would be divided among the political parties representing Iraq’s ethnic and sectarian factions.

The protesters started to withdraw from the Green Zone on May 1 after Iraq’s top leaders called on them to leave the government buildings.

“I call on the demonstrators to withdraw and protest peacefully, and not to encroach upon the public and private properties, which are the property of all Iraqis,” Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a statement.

Meanwhile, President Fuad Masoum urged the protesters “not to harm the lawmakers and employees, not to touch the public and private properties, and to evacuate the (parliament) building.”

“We also call on Prime Minister, Speaker and leaders of parliament blocs to come up with the desired reshuffle and implement the reforms to fight corruption,” Masoum said.

A statement issued by a committee of Sadr aides, responsible for organizing the protest, announced the evacuation.

It also warned that if the government and the parliament fail to meet their demand, there would be a call for early elections, while the people would take all lawful means, like entering the headquarters of the three presidencies (President, Prime Minister and Speaker) and announcing civil disobedience and public strike.

The protest has raised concerns in the region as Iran said on Monday it would help all the political factions solve their differences through dialogues.

Observers said it threatens to deepen the division among the political factions as the country is fighting the Islamic State militant group which has seized swathes of territories in northern and western regions.

“The power-sharing system was seen as a compromise to the deeply divided Iraqi sectarian and ethnic factions,” said Ibrahim al-Ameri, a lecturer of politics in a Baghdad college.

However, it has also been criticized for prompting unqualified candidates and encouraging corruption.
“Abadi’s most difficult task is that none of those political parties and blocs is willing to lose its gains. Abadi cannot confront those parties, let alone, his own Islamic Dawa Party,” he said.

Najib al-Jubouri, an expert on politics based in Baghdad, said that the Iraqi people, in particular Sadr’s followers, were outraged after the legislators failed three times to vote on Abadi’ s candidates that were aimed at replacing a cabinet with independent technocrats.

“The parliament and the political parties have no choice but to vote for a comprehensive reshuffle, and then to start again with new rules in the political process. Otherwise, chaos will destroy the political process,” he added. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.