Demonstrators invade the presidential mansion (VIDEOS)

The structure was taken over by Muqtada al-supporters Sadr's when the prominent Shi'ite cleric declared his departure from politics.



After the Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr announced his resignation from politics, hundreds of his supporters stormed Iraq's presidential palace in Baghdad on Monday. A curfew has been implemented and military troops have been dispatched to the palace.


Immediately after al-Sadr declared his "final resignation" from politics, the protestors made their way to the Republican Palace. The demonstrators entered the opulent facility after breaking down cement barriers outside and began chanting pro-cleric chants once inside.


Security at the palace was helpless to tame the crowd.


As more demonstrators gathered, riot police deployed water cannons to disperse the masses and quickly called in backup from the military. Video making the rounds on social media shows some of the people already inside taking advantage of the opportunity to swim in the palace's pool. Soon after the palace was breached, Iraq's Joint Operations Command imposed a curfew across the whole city.


Al-Sadr referred to the Ayatollah Kadhim al-Haeri, a senior Shi'ite spiritual figure who retired on Sunday and urged his followers to back Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in his place, in his resignation statement. Al-Sadr allegedly implied covert Iranian influence when he said al-departure Haeri's was "not of his choosing."


Al-Sadr has long fought to limit the impact of Iran-backed Shia militias in Iraq. He is an outspoken opponent of foreign interference there. Due to resistance from the Coordination Framework Alliance, a Shia coalition associated with Iran, and al-wish Sadr's to exclude its members from a potential ruling coalition, the al-Sadr political bloc, which won 73 of the 329 seats in the Iraqi legislature last year, was unable to establish a government.


Since late July, Al-followers Sadr has held the Iraqi Parliament to stop the opposition group from forming its administration.


Al-friend Sadr's Mustafa al-Kadhimi is still serving as interim prime minister of Iraq. The Supreme Federal Court of Iraq will convene this week to consider whether to dissolve parliament in response to Al-call Sadr's for new elections and parliament dissolution.


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