Baghdad state of emergency declared after protesters storm parliament

    A state of emergency has reportedly been declared in Baghdad after supporters of the Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr stormed the Green Zone and entered the parliament building.

    Hundreds of people gathered in protest at the failure of Iraqi MPs to convene for a vote to approve new ministers. The unrest comes after weeks of political turmoil in Baghdad over efforts by the prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, to replace party-affiliated ministers with technocrats. MPs failed to reach a quorum to approve the measures on Saturday.

    People gathered outside the heavily fortified green zone, comprising government buildings and foreign embassies, after crossing a bridge over the Tigris river chanting: “The cowards ran away.”

    They reportedly attached cables to the tops of concrete walls surrounding the green zone and pulled them down to gain access. Protesters are believed to have damaged cars belonging to MPs, and a video emerged online of a man in a grey suit being beaten.

    Footage from inside the parliament building appears to show scores of people across both levels waving flags and chanting. “You are not staying here. This is your last day in the green zone,” shouted one protester, according to Agence France-Presse.

    All entrances to Baghdad have been closed “as a precautionary measure to maintain the capital’s security”, a security official said. A UN spokesman and western diplomats inside

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