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Baghdad Chaos: Protesters Topple Green Zone Walls, Storm Parliament

Hundreds of protesters loyal to a Shiite cleric invaded Baghdad's Green Zone and occupied the parliament building.

Iraqi protesters flash the victory sign after storming the parliament in Baghdad on April 30, 2016.

Iraqi officials declared a state of emergency for all of Baghdad Saturday after protesters loyal to popular Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr breached the heavily fortified Green Zone, home to government buildings and foreign embassies, including the American one.

HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI / AFP - Getty Images

Followers of Iraq's Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr topple a perimeter wall of Baghdad's Green Zone.

Supporters of Sadr, whose fighters once controlled swaths of Baghdad and helped defend the capital from ISIS, have been demonstrating for weeks at the gates of the Green Zone, responding to their leader's call to pressure the government to reform. Saturday was the first time the protesters breached the compound's walls.

KHALID AL-MOUSILY / Reuters

Iraqi protesters wave national flags and shout slogans as they head to the parliament after breaking into Baghdad's Green Zone.

Security forces responsible for guarding the entrance to the area were not able to stop the demonstrators without opening fire so they let them in, the security source told NBC News.

HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI / AFP - Getty Images

An Iraqi protester flashes the victory sign as he heads to the parliament.

HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI / AFP - Getty Images

Iraqi protesters throw stones at a vehicle they believe belongs to a lawmaker as they gather outside the parliament.

HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI / AFP - Getty Images

Supporters of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr wave Iraqi flags outside the parliament.

The invasion of parliament by the Sadrist protesters raises questions over the future of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who has struggled to impose a technocratic government to tackle corruption.

Khalid Mohammed / AP
Iraqi protesters use a fire extinguisher to open a door inside the parliament. HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI / AFP - Getty Images
Iraqi protesters break down a door inside the parliament. HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI / AFP - Getty Images
Jubilant supporters of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr occupy the main session hall. HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI / AFP - Getty Images
Protesters fill the main session hall. Khalid Mohammed / AP

Iraqi protesters wave flags inside the parliament.

The invasion of parliament by the Sadrist protesters raises questions over the future of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who has struggled to impose a technocratic government to tackle corruption.

HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI / AFP - Getty Images