1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites
Supporters of Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr protest against corruption inside the parliament building in Baghdad
Muqtada al-Sadr commands a particular large support base and has shown his ability to mobilize themImage: Ahmed Saad/REUTERS

Iraq: Sadr supporters storm parliament building in Baghdad

July 27, 2022

Supporters of the Shiite cleric climbed into the fortified Green Zone before entering the parliament building. Iraq is in the midst of a political deadlock with no end in sight.


Hundreds of protesters in the Iraqi capital Baghdad broke into the parliament building after breaching the heavily fortified Green Zone where political and diplomatic buildings are housed.

The protesters were supporters of the influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and were demonstrating their opposition to the recent nomination of Mohammed al-Sudani for the position of prime minister.

No lawmakers were present when the protesters entered the building.

They chanted "Sudani, out" as some climbed the cement walls around the complex. Images showed them later walking on tables and waving Iraqi flags inside parliament.

A nine-month-long political deadlock

Caretaker Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi called on the protesters to "immediately withdraw."

He also warned in a statement that security forces would ensure "the protection of state institutions and foreign missions, and prevent any harm to security and order."

Political parties have failed to come to an agreement on choosing a national leader since the election in October last year. Wednesday marked the longest the Middle Eastern country has gone through without an official prime minister.

Al-Sadr's bloc won the most seats in the election, but talks with other parties stalled as Kurdish and Shiite lawmakers failed to reach an agreement.

While al-Sadr and his supporters are Shiite, they oppose other Shiite parties with strong connections to Iran, such as al-Sudani's Coordination Framework bloc.

Supporters of Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr protest against corruption inside the parliament building in Baghdad
Al-Sadr supporters previously held a sit-in inside the parliament building in 2016Image: Ahmed Saad/REUTERS

Fear of street violence

Al-Sadr ordered his lawmakers to step down en masse after failing to garner enough support to pick the country's next president, the first step needed before officially deciding on the position of prime minister.

The resignation of the 73 al-Sadr lawmakers from the 329-seat parliament made way for the swearing-in of new lawmakers who boosted the numbers of the pro-Iran bloc, making them the biggest.

The increased power of the pro-Iranian groups in the parliament has sparked fears that their hold on power could trigger street violence from al-Sadr's large support base.

They broke into the parliament once before in 2016 to demand political reforms from then-Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi.

Hundreds of thousands of Sadrists gathered in Baghdad earlier in the month for a mass Friday prayer. A speech from al-Sadr read out by Sheikh Mahmoud al-Jayashi said, "We are at a difficult... crossroads in the formation of the government, entrusted to some we do not trust," adding that some factions were "not up to the task."

ab/msh (AP, AFP, Reuters)

Skip next section DW's Top Story

DW's Top Story

A back view of protesters wearing the Israeli flag drapped over their shoulders

Israel's military reservists criticize judicial reform

Skip next section More stories from DW
Go to homepage