Will the Shia protesters get what they’ve demanded? Check it out.
Hundreds of protesters have stormed Iraq’s parliament building, waving flags and taking selfies, in a demonstration against a government deadlock.
Supporters of the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr broke through gates of the protected Green Zone in Baghdad after politicians failed to convene to vote in a new cabinet.
A state of emergency was declared in the capital as the unrest continued on Saturday afternoon; security officials said entrances to the city had been shut as a “precautionary measure”.
Witnesses said the protesters gathered outside the heavily fortified district housing government buildings and foreign embassies before crossing a bridge over the Tigris River chanting “the cowards ran away” in apparent reference to departing MPs.
There were no immediate reports of clashes with security forces, but special forces personnel were dispatched with armoured vehicles to protect sensitive sites, security officials said.
Some compounds used by United Nations staff and Western diplomats were reportedly locked down as the unrest continued.
A spokesperson for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office toldThe Independent that it was following the situation closely and working with local authorities.
All British Embassy staff in the Green Zone were understood to be safe and there were no evacuations underway.
One video posed online showed protesters attacking an armoured SUV with sticks and other objects, while other footage showed a man believed to be an MP being beaten.
Inside the building, some protesters were reportedly jumping on tables and chairs, while others were heard shouting at them not to break anything.
A Kurdish Peshmerga guard at a checkpoint told the Reuters news agency that crowds surged in after security forces pulled back from an external checkpoint in an unsuccessful effort to secure the parliament building.
— Hayder al-Khoei (@Hayder_alKhoei) April 30, 2016