Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

 The demonstrators streamed through the Green Zone's defenses.  (Photo: Reuters)

Iraqi Protesters Storm Parliament, Break Through Green Zone

Development marks 'climax of weeks of political turmoil'

Andrea Germanos

Iraq's political unrest continued on Saturday as hundreds of protesters waving Iraqi flags breached the fortified Green Zone in Baghdad and stormed the parliament.

Iraqi military announced a state of emergency in Baghdad, though, according to reporting by BBC News, "there has been no serious violence so far."

The protesters were described in various media reports s being followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

MSNBC reports that protesters have been "demonstrating for weeks at the gates of the Green Zone," with calls for the government to take on reforms and tackle corruption.

But Saturday marks "the first time the fortified zone housing government buildings and the U.S. Embassy has been penetrated since 2003," CNN reports.

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad tweeted Saturday that its staff had not been evacuated and that Iraqi government officials were not on its grounds.

According to Al Jazeera, the events mark "the climax of weeks of political turmoil in Iraq that has seen MPs hold a sit-in, clash in the parliament chamber and seek to dismiss the speaker, halting efforts by Haider al-Abadi, the prime minister, to replace party-affiliated ministers with technocrats."

Referring to the absent lawmakers, some protesters reportedly chanted, "the cowards ran away."

For "Iraqis who have lived through the reign of Saddam Hussein, the American occupation and the current turmoil," the New York Times reports, "the Green Zone has long symbolized tyranny, occupation and corruption." The Times' reporting also notes, "The ease with which they penetrated the rim of the Green Zone suggested that security forces were supportive of the protesters, as there were no reports of shots fired."

Video of the events can be seen below:

Euronews has video as well:

Describing the Shiite cleric last month, Ibrahim al-Marashi, an assistant professor at the Department of History, California State University, San Marcos, wrote, " In Sadr's latest political incarnation, he has embraced the politics of protest to become both an anti-politician and king-maker."  Al-Marashi added that Sadr "has proved himself as a shrewd political operator, elevating himself from relative obscurity in 2003, to a cult-of-personality and Shia sub-culture status that will remain as a fixture in Iraq's chaotic politics."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'There Is No Military Solution': Jayapal, Lee Demand Diplomacy on Ukraine

"We call upon our colleagues to allow the administration to find a diplomatic way out of this crisis," said the progressive Democrats.

Jake Johnson ·


Gun-Maker Slammed for 'Children's Assault Rifles' Based on AR-15

"At first glance, this comes across as a grotesque joke," said one gun control advocate. "On second look, it's just grotesque."

Jessica Corbett ·


Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer to Retire: Reports

"President Biden has an opportunity to secure a seat on the bench for a justice committed to protecting our democracy and the constitutional rights of all Americans, including the freedom to vote."

Brett Wilkins ·


Dems Demand Biden Stop Maintaining Saudi Jets Causing 'Untold Suffering' in Yemen

"Continued servicing of these jets could make the United States complicit in these likely war crimes," tweeted Rep. Tom Malinowski.

Andrea Germanos ·


80+ Dems Tell Biden to Release Secret Memo on Student Debt Authority

Leaders in Biden's own party strongly disagree with his insistence that he doesn't have the authority to broadly cancel student debt.

Jake Johnson ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo