Hundreds of supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr, the Iraqi Shia leader, have stormed Baghdad's Green Zone, some entering the parliament building, after legislators failed to convene for a vote on overhauling the government.
The protesters, who had gathered outside the heavily fortified district housing government buildings and foreign embassies, crossed a bridge over the Tigris River on Saturday, chanting, "The cowards ran away!" in apparent reference to legislators leaving parliament, a witnesses told Reuters.
Rioters rampaged through several parts of the parliament building while other protesters shouted "peacefully, peacefully" and tried to contain the destruction, AFP reported.
The parliament has been in disarray over the last month as politicians have failed to agree on a cabinet reshuffle proposed by Haider al-Abadi, the prime minister.
Earlier this week parliament approved a partial reshuffle,bowing to mounting public pressure for reform. Sadr has led mass protests in support of Abadi's planned reshuffle, which would hand key portfolios to independent technocrats in a bid to root out patronage and corruption.
Source: Al Jazeera