Iraqi PM: Situation in Green Zone under control
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says the situation in the Green Zone is under control after demonstrators broke into the heavily-fortified government complex in Baghdad.
“The situation in Baghdad is under the control of the security forces,” said a statement released by Abadi on Saturday.
He also urged the protesters to carry on peacefully with their demonstrations, without damaging the “property of state institutions.”
A statement was also released on Iraqi President Fuad Masum’s website, urging the demonstrators to remain calm and “abide by the law, not to attack any lawmaker, government employees, public or private properties and to evacuate the building.”
The president also called for “the cabinet, lawmakers, and head of the political blocs to implement the desired ministerial amendment, execute the political and administrative reforms, and fight corruption. We believe that burying partisan and factional quota system is a task that can no longer be postponed.”
Earlier, protesters moved into the Green Zone, a restricted area which houses the country’s key government institutions, and attempted to ransack the parliament, where fierce debates have been going on over a cabinet reshuffle proposed by al-Abadi.
Abadi was scheduled to seek approval for the remaining candidates of his new cabinet in parliament on Saturday. MPs failed to reach a quorum and the session was rescheduled for next week. The postponement triggered the protests and forced Masum to call for an emergency session of political leaders on Sunday.
The demonstrators, reportedly supporters of the prominent cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, rampaged through several parts of the parliament building. Others chanted, “peacefully, peacefully” and tried to prevent the destruction.
Iraq has been the scene of a political turmoil in the past weeks over Abadi’s efforts to form a new cabinet.
On April 26, the parliament finally endorsed six new ministers proposed by Abadi despite attempts to block the chamber meeting by about 100 deputies who are reportedly close to former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and have opposed Abadi and parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri.