Iraq's political crisis took a turn for the worse on Monday following the announcement of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's resignation from politics. In response to this, angry supporters of the cleric stormed the government palace, breaching the Green Zone. In view of the violent situation, Iraq's military placed Baghdad under curfew while the Cabinet sessions was suspended by Iraqi PM Mustafa al-Kadhimi.
Green Zone breached
Angry protestors managed to breach through the cement barriers outside the government palace using ropes and then broke into the gates. Protestors, in hundreds, were seen running around the marbled halls of the palace, using its swimming pool, and its lavish salons.
Videos from the Green Zone have gone viral on social media, which also confirm gunfire shots. Reports have revealed that the Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) were using live ammunition against Sadrist demonstrators. Multiple casualties have been reported.
Al-Kadhimi warned Sadrist protestors to withdraw from the Green Zone.
"The dangerous developments that took place in our dear Iraq today, from the demonstrators storming the Green Zone and entering government institutions, indicate the seriousness of the consequences of the continuation and accumulation of political differences," Kadhimi said.
Baghdad riots: Key developments
- Riots break out inside presidential palace.
- Security forces lock down streets inside Baghdad, southern checkpoints closed
- Noori Al-Maliki, former PM of Iraq, escaped from Green Zone
- Police seen using tear gas against Sadrist demonstrators
- Gunfight inside Green Zone; many injured