Scores of Iraqi protesters on Saturday took over the country’s parliament in an escalation of the political crisis in that country.
The protesters, mostly supporters of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, are angry at the failure of MPs to convene for a vote on overhauling the government.
Some chanted “the cowards ran away!” in reference to the absent politicians.
We are here to put pressure on the law makers because they are not honest.
The Washington Post reports that a state of emergency was declared in the Iraqi capital on Saturday as the protesters stormed parliament.
They’ve been demonstrating for weeks, heeding their leader’s call to put pressure on the Prime Minister to act on promises of reform.
The protesters earlier broke into the heavily-fortified Green Zone housing government buildings and other foreign embassies. Western compounds were locked down.
Hakem Radi, a protester said: “We are here to put pressure on the law makers because they are not honest.”
The Prime Minister has been trying to carry out a cabinet reshuffle by appointing technocrats to combat corruption.
Meanwhile, a few kilometres from the scene of the chaos, around 20 people were killed in a Baghdad suburb when a suicide bomber struck a gathering of Shiite pilgrims in an attack claimed by Sunni militants.