By Arab News
At least 60 protesters were injured in the Green Zone in central Baghdad after clashing with security forces on Saturday, the Iraqi Ministry of Health said in a statement.
Security forces used tear gas, water cannons, and rubber bullets to try to disperse thousands of protesters who broke into the parliament building for the second time this week, according to local media reports.
Supporters of powerful Iraqi cleric Moqtada Sadr flocked to Tahrir Square in the capital on Saturday to protest against the nomination of Mohammed Al-Sudani as the new prime minister of Iraq, the Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported.
The demonstrators breached the fortified barriers around the Green Zone, the INA said. The highly-secured Green Zone in the capital is home to several government buildings and diplomatic missions.
Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi urged security forces to protect the demonstrators and called on the protesters to refrain from using violence, adding that the clashes would only serve to escalate the situation, INA reported.
“Continuing the political escalation increases the tension and does not serve the public interests. The security forces have a duty to protect official institutions and emphasized the need to take all legal measures to maintain order,” Al-Khadimi said in a statement.
Protests in the capital have been ongoing since Wednesday despite several calls from Al-Kadhimi urging demonstrators to “immediately withdraw,” according to INA.
The stalled elections have deepened economic woes in the country that has been struggling to handle the months-long political deadlock.