133 injured in protests as Iraq’s Parliament reconvenes

Baghdad: At least 122 security members and 11 protesters were injured in clashes as the Iraqi Parliament reconvened after nearly two months of suspension amid a political deadlock.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Iraqi Joint Operations Command (JOC) said the clashes erupted in the afternoon after hundreds of protesters, most of them supporters of the Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, rallied in Tahrir Square in Baghdad, before they managed to remove concrete blocks to cross to the nearby al-Jumhouriyah Bridge in an attempt to make their way to the fortified Green Zone, which houses Parliament, other government buildings and foreign missions.

The clashes came as Parliament held a session, during which 222 lawmakers voted against the resignation of Mohammed al-Halbousi from his post as Speaker, reports Xinhua news agency.

During the session, three rockets landed at about 3.30 p.m. in the Green Zone, injuring seven people, the JOC said in its statement.

Yahia Rasoul, spokesman of the commander-in-chief of the Iraqi forces, said that one of the three rockets landed in front of the Parliament building, damaging nearby vehicles and buildings.

Wednesday’s development took place after Parliament had suspended its sessions on July 30 after thousands of al-Sadr’s supporters started an open sit-in in the building premises.

In the recent past, the continued disputes among the Shia parties have hampered the formation of a new Iraqi government, making it unable to elect a new President by a two-thirds majority of the 329-seat Parliament.

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