Iraq PM announces state of high alert in Baghdad
The supporters of the Sadrist movement stormed the Iraqi government's palace in Baghdad, and the riot police are trying to get the situation under control.
The supporters of the Sadrist movement in Iraq stormed the government palace, and the riot police are trying to get the situation under control, Al Mayadeen's correspondent in Baghdad reported on Monday.
"The supporters of the Sadrist movement are moving toward the Sanak and the Republic bridges in central Baghdad," Al Mayadeen's correspondent said noting that the riot police were calling for reinforcements to the Green Zone.
Hundreds of the Sadrist movement's followers broke into Baghdad’s green zone shortly after the movement's leader, Muqtada Al-Sadr, announced his retirement from politics.
An AFP correspondent reported that the protestors broke into the meeting rooms in the governmental buildings, and some of them carried the Iraqi flag while others swam in the Republican Palace's swimming pool.
The correspondent also reported seeing thousands of supporters of the Sadrist movement in the streets of Baghdad outside the Green Zone, heading toward the official presidential residence.
"There are fears of the developments spreading out to Basra after the demonstrators blocked the Algerian street intersection," the chief of Al Mayadeen's bureau in Baghdad.
Local media reported that the security forces resorted to using tear gas to disperse protestors gathered around the Presidential Palace.
The Iraqi Joint Operational Headquarters issued a statement announcing a lockdown as of 15:30 local time (12:30 GMT) in light of fears of an escalation, calling on the security services to bolster the protection of governmental buildings, banks, political parties' headquarters, and infrastructure.
"The Joint Operational Headquarters is announcing a curfew in the capital city of Baghdad... starting at 3:30 p.m. this Monday," the statement read.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Kadhimi urged Al-Sadr to call on his followers to leave government buildings in light of the recent escalations.
Government meetings postponed
Meetings of the Iraqi Cabinet of Ministers have been postponed after protesters entered the governmental headquarters in Baghdad, Prime Minister Al-Kadhimi said on Monday in a statement.
"The prime minister, commander-in-chief of the armed forces, instructs the Council of Ministers to suspend its meetings until further notice in connection with the entrance of a group of demonstrators into the cabinet building in the Government Palace," the statement read.
Leader of the Sadrist movement Muqtada Al-Sadr said earlier today that he was quitting politics. In a tweet, Sadr announced his final resignation from politics and the closure of all his party offices.
He added that "all the institutions" linked to his Sadrist movement will be closed, except the mausoleum of his father, Mohammed Sadeq Al-Sadr, who was assassinated in 1999, and other heritage facilities.
Al-Sadr's supporters have been staging a sit-in outside Iraq's parliament for several weeks, after storming it on July 30 to protest the Coordination Framework's nomination of Mohammad Shiya Al-Sudani for Prime Minister.
Caretaker Prime Minister Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi convened talks with party leaders earlier this month, but the Sadrists shunned them.