Protesters climbed over blast walls and broke through cordons to enter Baghdad’s “Green Zone” today. The Green Zone is home to miniseries as well as the U.S embassy. Lawmakers panicked and some were struck by protesters as they left the building. Some choose to hide in the basement for several hours, afraid of the crowd angered by corruption in the political system. A state of emergency has been declared in the country’s capital.

The problem according to protesters, is the system used to determine Iraq’s political positions. This system put in place after the U.S. invasion in 2003, uses sect and ethnicity to determine these positions. The prime minister Haider al-Abadi has partnered with the U.S in efforts to fight the Islamic State Militants (ISIS) however such efforts have been futile. Iraq is also struggling with a budget crises due to a decline in oil prices.

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The Parliament Building has been off-limits to the public for over 13 years. To the locals the Green Zone is a area of corruption, a place where the country’s elite live sheltered from the harsh realities in the rest of the country. One of the protesters said this: “Today the people announced their revolution, history will record the birth of a new Iraq, from the ashes of corruption and the corrupt.” Although organizers urged for a peaceful protest, footage showed that not all adhered to this.

“I was thrilled to be in that room. It was like being in a place you only see on television,” said 26-year-old Abdullah al-Zaidi. “When I entered I was looking at chairs, and I wanted to break them because the politicians are killing us and stealing from us from these chairs.” Some members of parliament went into hiding and even went as far as leaving the country. Many are “scared for their lives.”

One member of Parliament spoke by phone after he fled the building saying this: “This is an end to the political system put in place after 2003. A big part of the blame for this is on America, which left Iraq without solving this crisis it created.” A U.S. spokesmen for the military issued this statement: “Our focus remains the defeat of ISIL,” “Our operations continue, and we have not been interrupted.”

The prime minister has called for protesters to return to areas of the capital that have been selected for them. However many young protester’s have been using Facebook’s location feature, showing that they are in numerous areas of the capital. Despite all of this, the situation is said to be “under control.”

Source:The Washington Post