At least 10 people have been killed in violent protests in Baghdad after Muqtada al-Sadr announced his resignation from Iraqi politics.
The prominent Shi’ite cleric announced on Twitter that he was commencing his “final withdrawal” from Iraqi politics after failing to form government over a 10-month period, even though his party won the majority vote.
He withdrew all of his remaining MPs from parliament and added that “all the institutions” and offices part of the Sadrist Movement will be closed. 73 members of his political party had previously resigned in June.
According to his statement, the reason for leaving “was not out of his own volition” and that “if I die or get killed, I ask for your prayers”.
News of his resignation saw hundreds of supporters for the Sadr alliance storm the government palace despite the Iraqi military having announced a curfew that was made for all of Iraq to be inside by 7 pm.
Cement barriers were pulled down by ropes as swarms of people fled into the palace where they swam in the pool and took over the rooms. Rival religious and political groups also took to the streets, clashing with al-Sadr’s supporters.
— Iran News Update (@IranNewsUpdate1) August 29, 2022
Among the people killed-according to ABC news- was a soldier from the special forces division that oversaw protection within the Green Zone, while several others including a civilian woman were among 85 injured.
The Green zone is a 10 km2 area within Baghdad that has all government departments and foreign embassies.
Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi said that parliament and all meetings were suspended for the time being.
Muqtada al-Sadr’s inability to form government is linked to The Coordination Framework, which is an umbrella of Iraqi Shia parties largely backed by Iran and in opposition to Sadrist Movement.
To from government the Sadr leader needed two thirds of vote to become president, however The Coordination Framework had enough seats to block this process as multiple parties are under its alliance.