Sadrist protestors leave Baghdad’s Green Zone putting forth conditions
BAGHDAD – Anadolu Agency
REUTERS photoFollowers of Shiite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr have temporarily left the highly guarded Green Zone, where the parliament, government buildings and most of the embassies are, in the Iraqi capital, after a more than 24-hour occupation, a spokesman for the protestors has said.
İhlas el-Ubeydi, a spokesperson for the protestors at the festival area inside the Green Zone, told state-run Anadolu Agency May 1 that they had decided to conditionally retreat from the area.
“The technocrats government needs to be formed in one parliament session. If this does not realize, then we will proceed to the process of dismissal of the prime minister, the parliament speaker and the president. If these are also not realized then we will launch civil disobedience actions or a general strike by entering the offices of the prime ministry, the parliament speaker and the president,” said el-Ubeydi on May 1.
Key government posts have for years been shared out based on political and sectarian quotas, a practice Sadrist demonstrators want to end.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s efforts to change the system have been opposed by powerful political parties that rely on control of ministries for patronage and funds.
Hundreds of supporters of al-Sadr left the heavily guarded parliament building early May 1, hours after storming the parliament building when lawmakers failed to convene for a vote on overhauling the government.
The protestors then moved to the festival area inside the Green Zone to carry out their protests on May 1.
The crisis comes as the government is struggling to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) - which still controls large areas in the north and west - and addressing an economic crisis largely brought on by lower oil prices.