Followers of the Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr have stormed the Iraqi parliament in Baghdad and are calling for a reshuffle of the nation’s cabinet. This most recent escalation comes after months of tensions, as well as a protest last week that saw hundreds of thousands march on Baghdad’s Green Zone.
Following the occupation of the Green Zone, which contains government buildings and embassies and as a result is the most heavily guarded area in baghdad, a state of emergency was called and the city, as well as the compounds of western diplomats, were locked down.
The people stormed the building following a televised news conference by Moqtada Sadr in which he called for the end of months of deadlock surrounding political quotas, while not directly calling for the storming of parliament.
Mr. Sadr has been a avid supporter of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in his recent campaign to foster political unity and reform the systemic corruption within the government, Mr Abadi, however, has faced nothing but resistance from the opposition in his attempts to do so.
Iraq political quota system, which breaks up positions between Iraq’s ethnic groups, is considered by the protestors to be a system which fosters corruption and promotes ineffective governance.
One of the protesters who stormed the parliament said: “Our legitimate and only demand is to dismiss the government and replace it with an independent cabinet of technocrats.”, this would replace the quota system with one where members are elected based on technological knowledge.