Baghdad, Jul 31 (EFE).- Loyalists to influential Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr started preparing for a long sit-in at the parliament building in Baghdad on Sunday, a day after breaking into it for the second time in a week amid a months-long political deadlock.
Security forces currently are allowing lawmakers to freely enter and leave the building, as some 4,000-5,000 pro-Sadr protesters demanding new elections and the parliament be dissolved remain there.
A source from the parliament told Efe that protesters were erecting some tents and setting up committees outside the building located in Baghdad’s highly fortified Green Zone, which houses government institutions and foreign missions.
Calm has returned after hundreds of people were reported injured during the demonstrations on Saturday. There have been no more clashes between protesters and security forces.
Saal al-Tai from the Baghdad Operations Command told Efe that officers are deployed around the building and other institutions in the Green Zone, but they are instructed by the high command of the Armed Forces of Baghdad to avoid clashes with protesters.
Raad al-Saadi, a member of the Sadrist movement, told Efe over the phone that storming the parliament is “a message that there is no place for corruption” and to reject the Coordination Framework’s nomination of Mohammed Shia al-Sudani for prime minister.
In June, al-Sadr ordered his 73 lawmakers to quit after the parliament failed to elect a new president in an election boycotted by the pro-Iran Coordination Framework.
The withdrawal allowed the Coordination Framework to gain a parliamentary majority, although it was not until this week that it announced its candidate for prime minister.
“We also demand the dissolution of the parliament, hold fair elections and form a government that serves the citizens. We will continue our sit-in until we achieve our demands,” said al-Saadi. EFE