Iraq protests: Demonstrators begin to leave Green Zone
Shia Muslim activists who occupied Iraq’s parliament on Saturday have begun to leave Baghdad’s government district.
Organisers used loudspeakers to call an end to the sit-in in the Green Zone.
Earlier, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered the arrest of those who had stormed parliament.
The demonstrators, mostly supporters of Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr, were angered by delays in approving a new cabinet.
The protesters accuse the government of neglecting much-needed reforms, as it struggles with its campaign against the so-called Islamic State group and declining oil revenues.
IS, a Sunni Muslim group that controls parts of western and northern Iraq, claimed a twin suicide bombing on Sunday that killed at least 33 people and wounded more than 50 in the southern town of Samawa.
Supporters of Mr Sadr want MPs to push through plans to replace ministers with political affiliations with non-partisan unelected officials.
Powerful parties in parliament have refused to approve the change for several weeks.
A statement by the protest organisers, quoted by AFP news agency on Sunday evening, cited respect for a Shia pilgrimage as the reason for withdrawing.
Saturday’s occupation of parliament came after MPs again failed to reach a quorum to vote on the cabinet changes.
After the protest, demonstrators set up camp outside the parliament, and many were still there on Sunday.
“We need new faces not the old ones,” female protester Shatha Jumaa, a 58-year-old surgeon who described herself as a secularist, told the Associated Press news agency.
She said she wanted the current government dissolved and replaced by a small interim administration whose job would be to amend the constitution and to prepare for an early national election.
my question..how did they get in the green zone?
isnt that meant to be like fort knox?
“The demonstrators, mostly supporters of Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr, were angered by delays in approving a new cabinet. The protesters accuse the government of neglecting much-needed reforms, as it struggles with its campaign against the so-called Islamic State group and declining oil revenues.”
sadr is still a powerful force in iraq..