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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Iraqi protesters breach Green Zone, storm parliament

Wed May 11, 2016 | 5:57 AM EDT Car bomb in Baghdad's Sadr City kills 50: police, medics ‹ People gather at the scene of a car bomb attack in Baghdad's mainly Shi'ite district of Sadr City, Iraq, May 11, 2016. REUTERS/Wissm al-Okili People gather at the scene of a car bomb attack in Baghdad's mainly Shi'ite district of Sadr City, Iraq, May 11, 2016. Reuters/Wissm al-Okili People gather at the scene of a car bomb attack in Baghdad's mainly Shi'ite district of Sadr City, Iraq, May 11, 2016. REUTERS/Wissm al-Okili People gather at the scene of a car bomb attack in Baghdad's mainly Shi'ite district of Sadr City, Iraq, May 11, 2016. Reuters/Wissm al-Okili People gather at the scene of a car bomb attack in Baghdad's mainly Shi'ite district of Sadr City, Iraq, May 11, 2016. REUTERS/Wissm al-Okili People gather at the scene of a car bomb attack in Baghdad's mainly Shi'ite district of Sadr City, Iraq, May 11, 2016. Reuters/Wissm al-Okili People gather at the scene of a car bomb attack in Baghdad's mainly Shi'ite district of Sadr City, Iraq, May 11, 2016. REUTERS/Wissm al-Okili People gather at the scene of a car bomb attack in Baghdad's mainly Shi'ite district of Sadr City, Iraq, May 11, 2016. Reuters/Wissm al-Okili People gather at the scene of a car bomb attack in Baghdad's mainly Shi'ite district of Sadr City, Iraq, May 11, 2016. REUTERS/Wissm al-Okili People gather at the scene of a car bomb attack in Baghdad's mainly Shi'ite district of Sadr City, Iraq, May 11, 2016. Reuters/Wissm al-Okili People gather at the scene of a car bomb attack in Baghdad's mainly Shi'ite district of Sadr City, Iraq, May 11, 2016. REUTERS/Wissm al-Okili People gather at the scene of a car bomb attack in Baghdad's mainly Shi'ite district of Sadr City, Iraq, May 11, 2016. Reuters/Wissm al-Okili A woman reacts at the scene of a car bomb attack in Baghdad's mainly Shi'ite district of Sadr City, Iraq, May 11, 2016. REUTERS/Wissm al-Okili A woman reacts at the scene of a car bomb attack in Baghdad's mainly Shi'ite district of Sadr City, Iraq, May 11, 2016. Reuters/Wissm al-Okili People gather at the scene of a car bomb attack in Baghdad's mainly Shi'ite district of Sadr City, Iraq, May 11, 2016. REUTERS/Wissm al-Okili People gather at the scene of a car bomb attack in Baghdad's mainly Shi'ite district of Sadr City, Iraq, May 11, 2016. Reuters/Wissm al-Okili People gather at the scene of a car bomb attack in Baghdad's mainly Shi'ite district of Sadr City, Iraq, May 11, 2016. REUTERS/Wissm al-Okili People gather at the scene of a car bomb attack in Baghdad's mainly Shi'ite district of Sadr City, Iraq, May 11, 2016. Reuters/Wissm al-Okili People gather at the scene of a car bomb attack in Baghdad's mainly Shi'ite district of Sadr City, Iraq, May 11, 2016. REUTERS/Wissm al-Okili People gather at the scene of a car bomb attack in Baghdad's mainly Shi'ite district of Sadr City, Iraq, May 11, 2016. Reuters/Wissm al-Okili People gather at the scene of a car bomb attack in Baghdad's mainly Shi'ite district of Sadr City, Iraq, May 11, 2016. REUTERS/Wissm al-Okili People gather at the scene of a car bomb attack in Baghdad's mainly Shi'ite district of Sadr City, Iraq, May 11, 2016. Reuters/Wissm al-Okili People gather at the scene of a car bomb attack in Baghdad's mainly Shi'ite district of Sadr City, Iraq, May 11, 2016. REUTERS/Wissm al-Okili People gather at the scene of a car bomb attack in Baghdad's mainly Shi'ite district of Sadr City, Iraq, May 11, 2016. Reuters/Wissm al-Okili › Car bomb in Baghdad's Sadr City kills 50: police,...X BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A car bomb claimed by Islamic State in a Shi'ite Muslim district of Baghdad killed at least 50 people and wounded more than 60 others on Wednesday, Iraqi police and hospital sources said. The SUV packed with explosives went off near a beauty salon in a bustling market at rush hour in Sadr City. Most of the victims were women and many of the wounded are in critical condition, the sources said. Amaq news agency, which supports Islamic State, said a suicide bomber had targeted Shi'ite militia fighters. The ultra-hardline Sunni jihadist group, which considers Shi'ites apostates, claimed a twin suicide bombing in Sadr City in February that killed 70 people. ADVERTISEMENT Security has gradually improved in Baghdad, which was the target of daily bombings a decade ago, but violence directed against both the security forces and civilians is still frequent and large blasts sometimes set off reprisal attacks. The fight against Islamic State has exacerbated a long-running sectarian conflict in Iraq, mostly between the Shi'ite majority and the Sunni minority. Sectarian violence also threatens to undermine U.S.-backed efforts to dislodge the militant group from vast areas of the north and west of Iraq that they seized in 2014. (Reporting by Kareem Raheem and by Ali Abdelaty in CAIRO; Editing by Louise Ireland) =============================== Sun May 1, 2016 | 1:21 PM EDT Iraqi protesters end Green Zone sit-in for now after issuing demands ‹ Followers of Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr leave the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq, May 1, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani Followers of Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr leave the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq, May 1, 2016. Reuters/Thaier Al-Sudani Followers of Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr leave the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq, May 1, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani Followers of Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr leave the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq, May 1, 2016. Reuters/Thaier Al-Sudani Followers of Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr leave the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq, May 1, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani Followers of Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr leave the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq, May 1, 2016. Reuters/Thaier Al-Sudani Followers of Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr leave the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq, May 1, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani Followers of Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr leave the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq, May 1, 2016. Reuters/Thaier Al-Sudani Followers of Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr leave the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq, May 1, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani Followers of Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr leave the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq, May 1, 2016. Reuters/Thaier Al-Sudani Followers of Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr leave the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq, May 1, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani Followers of Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr leave the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq, May 1, 2016. Reuters/Thaier Al-Sudani Followers of Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr leave the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq, May 1, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani Followers of Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr leave the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq, May 1, 2016. Reuters/Thaier Al-Sudani Followers of Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr leave the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq, May 1, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani Followers of Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr leave the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq, May 1, 2016. Reuters/Thaier Al-Sudani › Iraqi protesters end Green Zone sit-in for now...X By Stephen Kalin and Ahmed Rasheed BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Protesters camped out in Baghdad's Green Zone for 24 hours left the heavily fortified government district on Sunday after issuing demands for political reform but they pledged to return by the end of the week to keep up the pressure. Iraq has endured months of wrangling prompted by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's attempt to replace party-affiliated ministers with technocrats as part of an anti-corruption drive. A divided parliament has failed to approve the proposal amid scuffles and protests. Deep frustration over the deadlock culminated in a dramatic breach on Saturday of the Green Zone by supporters of powerful Shi'ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Sadr wants to see Abadi's proposed technocrat government approved, ending a quota system blamed for rampant corruption. Powerful parties have resisted, fearing the dismantling of patronage networks that sustain their wealth and influence. Abadi has warned continued turmoil could hamper the war against Islamic State, which controls large swathes of northern and western Iraq. The Green Zone protesters issued an escalating set of demands, including a parliamentary vote on a technocrat government, the resignation of the president, prime minister and parliamentary speaker and new elections. If none of the demands are met, a spokeswoman for the protesters said in a televised speech that they would resort to "all legitimate means" including civil disobedience. Hundreds of protesters peacefully exited the Green Zone moments later. The peaceful defusing of the crisis came after Abadi convened a high-level meeting with Iraq's president, parliament speaker and political bloc leaders who called the breach of the Green Zone "a dangerous infringement of the state's prestige and a blatant constitutional violation that must be prosecuted". ADVERTISEMENT . They said the high-level meetings would continue in coming days "to ensure radical reforms of the political process". A politician who attended the talks said Abadi had faced accusations of mishandling the crisis. Another said the conflict had become an intra-Shi'ite battle over who will run Iraq. Two suicide car bombs claimed by Islamic State killed at least 32 people and wounded 75 others on Sunday in the center of the southern city of Samawa, police and medics said. GREEN ZONE: "EVEN THE PLANTS ARE DIFFERENT" The Green Zone, a 10-square-kilometre district on the banks of the Tigris River which also houses many foreign embassies, has been off-limits to most Iraqis since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. In an unprecedented breach on Sunday, hundreds of people pulled down and stormed over concrete blast walls, celebrating inside parliament and attacking several deputies. Many protesters, including some women and children, had spent Sunday in the square, taking refuge inside event halls from 37 degree Celsius heat, while others lay on the grass or cooled off in a large fountain topped with a military statue. A demonstrator named Humam said he was shocked by the contrast between the poverty in which most Iraqis like him live and the comparative luxury inside the central district, which he had never entered before. "There is electricity and street lighting, there is more water here than I expected. Even the plants are different," he said. "It is the people's right to enter this area because (the politicians) are living in conditions that don't even exist in Iraq. I didn't imagine this existed in Iraq." Another protester who referred to parliament as "the council of traitors" said he wanted to see top officials removed. "They have done nothing good for Iraq, only destruction, sectarian wars, hunger and no services." (Additional reporting by Thaier al-Sudani; Writing by Stephen Kalin; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky and Gareth Jones) ====================================== Apr. 30, 2016 9:02 AM ET THE ASSOCIATED PRESS STATEMENT OF NEWS VALUES AND PRINCIPLES By SUSANNAH GEORGE Civilians inspect a crater caused by a car bombing at an open-air market selling fruit, vegetables and meat in Baghdad's southeast suburb of Nahrawan, Iraq, Saturday, April 30, 2016. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a bombing Saturday east of Baghdad, according to a statement posted on an IS-affiliated website. The attack and wounded scores of civilians according to Iraqi police and hospital officials. The IS statement described the attack as a three-ton truck bombing. (AP Photo/Ali Abdul Hassan) Sri Lankan protest demands new probe of journalist's killing Apr. 29, 2016 8:41 AM ET French politicians decry violence at Nuit Debout protest Apr. 29, 2016 8:17 AM ET Biden presses Iraq to not let political chaos upend gains Apr. 28, 2016 5:39 PM ET Egyptian police fire tear gas, birdshot at Cairo protesters Apr. 25, 2016 12:10 PM ET Moldovan anti-government protesters scuffle with police Apr. 24, 2016 2:33 PM ET Buy AP Photo Reprints BAGHDAD (AP) — Hundreds of protesters climbed over the blast walls surrounding Baghdad's highly-fortified Green Zone for the first time on Saturday and stormed into parliament, carrying Iraqi flags and chanting against the government. The breach marked a major escalation in the country's political crisis following months of anti-government protests, sit-ins and demonstrations by supporters of influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. The Green Zone is home to most ministries and foreign embassies and has long been the focus of al-Sadr's criticism of the government. Earlier Saturday, al-Sadr accused Iraqi politicians of blocking political reforms aimed at combating corruption and waste. While al-Sadr didn't call for an escalation to the protests, shortly after his remarks his supporters began scaling the compound's walls. A group of young men then pulled down a section of concrete blast walls to cheers from the crowd of thousands gathered in the streets outside. Cellphone video uploaded to social media showed dozens of young men running through the halls of parliament, chanting slogans in support of al-Sadr and calling for the government to disband. "We are all with you (al-Sadr)," one group of men yelled as the entered the building's main chamber. Increasingly tense protests and a series of failed reform measures have paralyzed Iraq's government as the country struggles to fight the Islamic State group and respond to an economic crisis sparked in part by a plunge in global oil prices. A broad-based protest movement last summer mobilized millions and pressured Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to submit a proposal to reduce the size of the Cabinet and replace political appointees with independent technocrats. But that proposal has been stalled in the face of Iraq's entrenched political blocs, and in recent months al-Sadr's movement has come to monopolize the protests. Earlier on Saturday, a bombing in a market filled with Shiite civilians in Baghdad killed at least 21 people and wounded at least 42 others, according to police and hospital officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters. IS claimed the attack, saying it used a three-ton truck bomb. The extremist group regularly carries out attacks targeting the security forces and the country's Shiite majority. ======================= Twitter | Search Home Connect Trends Me M2_tab_indicator Tweet Hayder al-Khoei Hayder al-Khoei @Hayder_alKhoei 1h Angry protestors storm the Green Zone & take selfies inside parliament. #Iraq pic.twitter.com/VE1jyZaHak View photo · Reply Retweet Like Hayder al-Khoei Hayder al-Khoei @Hayder_alKhoei Chaos in Baghdad today. #Iraq pic.twitter.com/Sj9r9VclC2 6:02 AM - 30 Apr 2016 Twitter by: Hayder al-Khoei @Hayder_alKhoei 47 Retweets 6 Likes Reply Retweet Like More Hayder al-Khoei Hayder al-Khoei @Hayder_alKhoei 1h "I am the speaker of parliament. I rule in the name of the people. Peaceful, peaceful" protestor updates his status pic.twitter.com/jQ9ffCISke View conversation · Reply Retweet Like Sideline Observer Sideline Observer @Observer46664 1h @Hayder_alKhoei Ha ha this is hilarious!😁 View conversation · Reply Retweet Like Yannis Koutsomitis Yannis Koutsomitis @YanniKouts 1h @Hayder_alKhoei Who's this guy anyway? A Muqtada associate? View conversation · Reply Retweet Like Hayder al-Khoei Hayder al-Khoei @Hayder_alKhoei 55m Sharqiya reporting that dozens of MPs have been assaulted and kicked out of parliament building. #pt #Iraq View conversation · Reply Retweet Like Sideline Observer Sideline Observer @Observer46664 54m @Hayder_alKhoei Peaceful huh? View conversation · Reply Retweet Like Hayder al-Khoei Hayder al-Khoei @Hayder_alKhoei 53m Iraqi counter-terrorism forces surrounded cabinet building in Green Zone after parliament is stormed. State of emergency declared. #pt #Iraq View conversation · Reply Retweet Like Hayder al-Khoei Hayder al-Khoei @Hayder_alKhoei 51m Some Iraqi soldiers are dancing with the protestors inside the parliament building. If you can't beat them... View conversation · Reply Retweet Like shawn snow shawn snow @SnowSox184 48m @Hayder_alKhoei I would imagine some security forces are complicit for protestors to storm the Green Zone so easily. View conversation · Reply Retweet Like Hayder al-Khoei Hayder al-Khoei @Hayder_alKhoei 47m No clashes reported between security forces & protestors have been reported. All smiles for now. #pt pic.twitter.com/LZaTTYCbQZ View conversation · Reply Retweet Like Hayder al-Khoei Hayder al-Khoei @Hayder_alKhoei 45m Reports that protestors continue to enter the Green Zone but no other building besides parliament has been breached. #pt View conversation · Reply Retweet Like Roger B Roger B @BrunstadRoger 44m @Hayder_alKhoei I really love this - now Abadi must act fast to implement all the reforms - otherwise all hell will break loose in Iraq View conversation · Reply Retweet Like Hayder al-Khoei Hayder al-Khoei @Hayder_alKhoei 35m Sadrist protestors attacking Fadhila MP Ammar Tuma. Shia-Shia conflict so far. #pt pic.twitter.com/Rb0sRpTt8e View conversation · Reply Retweet Like Hayder al-Khoei Hayder al-Khoei @Hayder_alKhoei 33m Protestor inside parliament: the voice of the people is louder than the political parties, louder than muhasasa (ethno-sectarian quotas) #pt View conversation · Reply Retweet Like Hayder al-Khoei Hayder al-Khoei @Hayder_alKhoei 32m Protestors are jumping on tables and chairs inside parliament, but you can hear others shouting loudly "don't break anything!" #pt #Iraq View conversation · Reply Retweet Like Hayder al-Khoei Hayder al-Khoei @Hayder_alKhoei 30m In stark contrast to attack on Fadhila MP Tuma, Sadrist MP Zamili is warmly greeted by protestors in Green Zone. #pt pic.twitter.com/m3UrJiHam5 View conversation · Reply Retweet Like Hayder al-Khoei Hayder al-Khoei @Hayder_alKhoei 24m More pics from inside parliament building. Looks like protestors are having quite the adventure. #pt pic.twitter.com/ns1dvtz2tt View conversation · Reply Retweet Like Hayder al-Khoei Hayder al-Khoei @Hayder_alKhoei 22m PM Abadi seen walking on foot in Green Zone along with senior security officers. Rumours that he fled Baghdad clearly false. View conversation · Reply Retweet Like Hayder al-Khoei Hayder al-Khoei @Hayder_alKhoei 18m Sharqiya reporter quotes PM Abadi: "I am the one who gave orders to allow the protestors to enter the Green Zone" (peacefully) #pt View conversation · Reply Retweet Like Enter a topic, @name, or fullname Settings Help Back to top · Turn images off ====================== Supporters of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr climb onto the blast walls outside Baghdad's Green Zone, Saturday, April 30, 2016. Dozens of protesters climbed over the blast walls and could be seen storming the Parliament building, carrying Iraqi flags and chanting against the government. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed) 1 of 5 More News Video Iraqi protesters pour into Green Zone, storm parliament Apr. 30, 2016 2:08 PM ET Protesters loyal to Shiite cleric breach Baghdad's Green Zone, home to government, embassies Apr. 30, 2016 8:20 AM ET Protest in Myanmar targets US Embassy use of term 'Rohingya' Apr. 28, 2016 10:32 AM ET Iraqi parliament approves partial Cabinet reshuffle Apr. 26, 2016 1:09 PM ET Philippine troops hunt down extremists who beheaded Canadian Apr. 26, 2016 7:30 AM ET Buy AP Photo Reprints BAGHDAD (AP) — The Latest on anti-government protests in Iraq (all times local): 5:30 p.m. Iraq's elite counterterrorism forces, who have in the past been called on to reinforce security in the capital, say they are standing down for now after anti-government protesters breached the Green Zone. Police and troops guarding the heavily-fortified zone, where most ministries and embassies are located, appeared to be taking no action after protesters breached the walls and stormed into parliament Saturday. Sabah al-Numan, spokesman for the counterterrorism forces, says "we still view this as a demonstration" and "aren't taking any part in this as it's not something regarding terrorism." He adds, however, that if the unrest escalates his forces may be forced to intervene to "protect the legitimacy of the government." The protesters, who support Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, are demanding political reforms to combat corruption and mismanagement. ___ 5:00 p.m. Iraqi forces are tightening security in the capital after anti-government protesters breached the Green Zone and stormed parliament. The Baghdad Operations Command says all traffic attempting to enter the capital through the city's main checkpoints was halted after the breach on Saturday, and additional police and military units have been deployed to the Green Zone, closing the checkpoints on the compound's outer perimeter and blocking internal roads. The heavily-guarded Green Zone is home to most of Iraq's ministries and foreign embassies. Supporters of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr stormed the Green Zone earlier on Saturday, marking a major escalation after months of demonstrations and sit-ins demanding political reforms to combat corruption and waste. 3:30 p.m. Dozens of protesters have climbed over the blast walls surrounding Baghdad's highly-fortified Green Zone and could be seen storming into parliament, carrying Iraqi flags and chanting against the government. After months of protests, sit-ins and demonstrations outside Baghdad's Green Zone — home to most ministries and foreign embassies — Saturday's escalation marks the first time protesters have breached the compound's walls. Earlier Saturday, influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr accused Iraqi politicians of blocking efforts to implement political reform aimed at combating corruption and waste. Increasingly tense protests and a series of failed reform measures have paralyzed Iraq's government as the country struggles to fight the Islamic State group and respond to an economic crisis sparked in part by a plunge in global oil prices. Associated Press ======= Sat Apr 30, 2016 | 4:32 PM EDT Sadr followers dig in inside Baghdad's Green Zone, political crisis deepens 2h ago | 01:44 Protesters storm Baghdad's Green Zone Sadr followers dig in inside Baghdad's Green Zone,...X By Stephen Kalin and Ahmed Rasheed BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Hundreds of supporters of Shi'ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr stormed parliament inside Baghdad's Green Zone on Saturday and camped out nearby after Sadr denounced politicians' failure to reform a political quota system blamed for rampant corruption. The protesters, who had gathered outside the heavily fortified central district housing government buildings and many foreign embassies, crossed a bridge over the Tigris River chanting: "The cowards ran away!" in apparent reference to departing lawmakers. The initial breach was mostly peaceful, but around sunset security forces fired teargas and bullets into the air in an effort to stop more protesters from entering. Around a dozen people were wounded, police sources said. A United Nations spokesman and Western diplomats said their compounds inside the Green Zone were locked down. A U.S. embassy spokesman denied reports of evacuation. Iraqi security personnel and Sadr's militiamen formed a joint force to control crowds of protesters, most of whom had left parliament, a source in Sadr's office told Reuters. All entrances of Baghdad were temporarily shut "as a precautionary measure to maintain the capital's security," another security official said. As night fell, demonstrators set up tents at a nearby parade ground under triumphal arches made from crossed swords held by hands modelled on those of Saddam Hussein, who was toppled by the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has warned that the months-long political crisis prompted by his efforts to overhaul the cabinet could hamper the war against Islamic State, which controls vast swathes of northern and western Iraq. Earlier in the day, the ultra-hardline Sunni militants claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack against Shi'ite pilgrims in the southeastern Baghdad suburb of Nahrawan, killing 19 people and wounding 48 others. Following the breach, Abadi inspected security forces inside the Green Zone, discrediting earlier reports that he had fled. He called on protesters to return to areas set aside for demonstrations and not to infringe on public property. ADVERTISEMENT . Such a breach is unprecedented, though only a few years ago mortars frequently rained down on the 10-square-kilometre Green Zone, which once housed the headquarters of the U.S. occupation and before that one of Saddam's palaces. Checkpoints and concrete barriers have blocked bridges and highways leading to the neighbourhood for years, symbolising the isolation of Iraq's leadership from its people. Videos showed protesters on Saturday attacking a white, armoured SUV with sticks and beating a man in a grey suit. The source in Sadr's office said a Sadrist MP had escorted out several deputies, the last ones holed up in parliament, in his motorcade. Members of the Peace Brigades, Sadr's paramilitary group, had earlier conducted cursory checks of protesters as government security forces who usually make careful searches with bomb-sniffing dogs stood by the side, a Reuters witness said. ‹ Followers of Iraq's Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr storm Baghdad's Green Zone after lawmakers failed to convene for a vote on overhauling the government, in Iraq April 30, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad Followers of Iraq's Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr storm Baghdad's Green Zone after lawmakers failed to convene for a vote on overhauling the government, in I... Reuters/Ahmed Saad + Followers of Iraq's Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr are seen in the parliament building as they storm Baghdad's Green Zone after lawmakers failed to convene for a vote on overhauling the government, in Iraq April 30, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad Followers of Iraq's Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr are seen in the parliament building as they storm Baghdad's Green Zone after lawmakers failed to convene fo... Reuters/Ahmed Saad + Followers of Iraq's Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr are seen in the parliament building as they storm Baghdad's Green Zone after lawmakers failed to convene for a vote on overhauling the government, in Iraq April 30, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad Followers of Iraq's Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr are seen in the parliament building as they storm Baghdad's Green Zone after lawmakers failed to convene fo... Reuters/Ahmed Saad + Followers of Iraq's Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr storm Baghdad's Green Zone after lawmakers failed to convene for a vote on overhauling the government, in Iraq April 30, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily Followers of Iraq's Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr storm Baghdad's Green Zone after lawmakers failed to convene for a vote on overhauling the government, in I... Reuters/Khalid al Mousily + Followers of Iraq's Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr storm Baghdad's Green Zone after lawmakers failed to convene for a vote on overhauling the government, in Iraq April 30, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily Followers of Iraq's Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr storm Baghdad's Green Zone after lawmakers failed to convene for a vote on overhauling the government, in I... Reuters/Khalid al Mousily + Followers of Iraq's Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr are seen in the parliament building as they storm Baghdad's Green Zone after lawmakers failed to convene for a vote on overhauling the government, in Iraq April 30, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad Followers of Iraq's Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr are seen in the parliament building as they storm Baghdad's Green Zone after lawmakers failed to convene fo... Reuters/Ahmed Saad + Followers of Iraq's Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr storm Baghdad's Green Zone after lawmakers failed to convene for a vote on overhauling the government, in Iraq April 30, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad Followers of Iraq's Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr storm Baghdad's Green Zone after lawmakers failed to convene for a vote on overhauling the government, in I... Reuters/Ahmed Saad + Followers of Iraq's Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr are seen in the parliament building as they storm Baghdad's Green Zone after lawmakers failed to convene for a vote on overhauling the government, in Iraq April 30, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad Followers of Iraq's Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr are seen in the parliament building as they storm Baghdad's Green Zone after lawmakers failed to convene fo... Reuters/Ahmed Saad + Followers of Iraq's Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr storm Baghdad's Green Zone after lawmakers failed to convene for a vote on overhauling the government, in Iraq April 30, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily Followers of Iraq's Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr storm Baghdad's Green Zone after lawmakers failed to convene for a vote on overhauling the government, in I... Reuters/Khalid al Mousily + Followers of Iraq's Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr are seen in the parliament building as they storm Baghdad's Green Zone after lawmakers failed to convene for a vote on overhauling the government, in Iraq April 30, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad Followers of Iraq's Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr are seen in the parliament building as they storm Baghdad's Green Zone after lawmakers failed to convene fo... Reuters/Ahmed Saad + Followers of Iraq's Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr are seen in the parliament building as they storm Baghdad's Green Zone after lawmakers failed to convene for a vote on overhauling the government, in Iraq April 30, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad Followers of Iraq's Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr are seen in the parliament building as they storm Baghdad's Green Zone after lawmakers failed to convene fo... Reuters/Ahmed Saad + Followers of Iraq's Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr are seen in the parliament building as they storm Baghdad's Green Zone after lawmakers failed to convene for a vote on overhauling the government, in Iraq April 30, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad Followers of Iraq's Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr are seen in the parliament building as they storm Baghdad's Green Zone after lawmakers failed to convene fo... Reuters/Ahmed Saad + Prominent Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr speaks during news conference in Najaf, south of Baghdad, April 30, 2016. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani Prominent Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr speaks during news conference in Najaf, south of Baghdad, April 30, 2016. Reuters/Alaa Al-Marjani Followers of Iraq's Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr are seen in the parliament building as they storm Baghdad's Green Zone after lawmakers failed to convene for a vote on overhauling the government, in Iraq April 30, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad Followers of Iraq's Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr are seen in the parliament building as they storm Baghdad's Green Zone after lawmakers failed to convene fo... Reuters/Ahmed Saad + Followers of Iraq's Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr are seen at the parliament building as they storm Baghdad's Green Zone after lawmakers failed to convene for a vote on overhauling the government, in Iraq April 30, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad Followers of Iraq's Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr are seen at the parliament building as they storm Baghdad's Green Zone after lawmakers failed to convene fo... Reuters/Ahmed Saad + Prominent Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr speaks during news conference in Najaf, south of Baghdad, Iraq April 30, 2016. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani Prominent Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr speaks during news conference in Najaf, south of Baghdad, Iraq April 30, 2016. Reuters/Alaa Al-Marjani Followers of Iraq's Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr storm Baghdad's Green Zone after lawmakers failed to convene for a vote on overhauling the government, in Iraq April 30, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad Followers of Iraq's Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr storm Baghdad's Green Zone after lawmakers failed to convene for a vote on overhauling the government, in I... Reuters/Ahmed Saad + Followers of Iraq's Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr are seen in the parliament building as they storm Baghdad's Green Zone after lawmakers failed to convene for a vote on overhauling the government, in Iraq April 30, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad Followers of Iraq's Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr are seen in the parliament building as they storm Baghdad's Green Zone after lawmakers failed to convene fo... Reuters/Ahmed Saad + › More protesters remained at the gates chanting "Peaceful!". Some stood atop concrete blast walls that form the district's outer barrier. President Fuad Massoum called on demonstrators to leave parliament, but urged politicians to implement the cabinet reform: "Burying the regime of party and sectarian quotas cannot be delayed." "GREAT POPULAR UPRISING" Inside parliament hundreds of protesters danced, waved Iraqi flags and chanted pro-Sadr slogans. Some appeared to be breaking furniture. Local television showed them chanting and taking pictures of themselves inside the main chamber where moments earlier lawmakers had met. Related Coverage Iraqi forces fire tear gas, bullets in air at Green Zone protesters: sources SlideshowFollowers of Iraq's Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr are seen in the parliament building as they storm Baghdad's Green Zone after lawmakers failed to convene for a vote on overhauling the government, in Iraq Parliament failed to reach quorum on Saturday afternoon to complete voting on a cabinet reshuffle first urged by Abadi in February. A handful of ministers were approved on Tuesday despite disruptions by dissenting lawmakers. Political parties have resisted Abadi's efforts to replace some ministers - chosen to balance Iraq's divisions along party, ethnic and sectarian lines - with technocrats in a bid to combat corruption. Supporters of Sadr, whose fighters once controlled large areas of Baghdad and helped defend the city from Islamic State in 2014, have been demonstrating in the capital for weeks, responding to their leader's call to put pressure on Abadi to follow through on months-old reform promises. Moments before the Green Zone breach, Sadr seemed to offer an ultimatum: "Either corrupt (officials) and quotas remain or the entire government will be brought down and no one will be exempted." In a televised speech from the holy city of Najaf announcing a two-month withdrawal from public life, Sadr said he was "waiting for the great popular uprising and the major revolution to stop the march of the corrupt." (Additional reporting by Saif Hameed, Kareem Raheem and Ahmed Saad; Writing by Stephen Kalin; Editing by Richard Balmforth and Ros Russell)

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