Baghdad Green Zone security tightened ahead of vote protest

Baghdad Green Zone security tightened ahead of election results protest
2 min read
20 October, 2021
Iraqi security forces have tightened measures around the fortified international zone in the country's capital, ahead of protests planned by pro-Iranian groups angered by the recent election results.
Pro-Iranian Shia factions have told their supporters to continue demonstrating [Getty]

Baghdad’s Green Zone has seen heightened security measures since Tuesday as protesters affiliated to Iranian-backed factions plan to demonstrate over the recent election results.

Riot police and an elite security unit closed all the entrances leading into the heavily fortified Green Zone, where many governmental buildings and diplomatic missions are located, security sources told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, The New Arab’s sister site.

They said these measures would remain in place until the planned demonstrations are over.

The protests, mobilising under a "coordinated framework of Shia forces" according to the source, are expected to carry out a sit in front of the gates of the Green Zone.

Security forces fear clashes could erupt, but have warned that they will carry out whatever was necessary to avoid any escalations.

"The security forces will not allow any party to threaten the security situation, and are ready to respond to any such attempts," the source told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

Local Iraqi media also reported that the US embassy, situated in the Green Zone, activated its missile defence system.

The embassy has been targeted by several rocket attacks in recent years, believed to be by pro-Iranian militias.

Iraq's election was a disaster for the pro-Iranian Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), also known as Hashd Al-Shaabi, as it saw its share of seats go down from 48 to 15 in the country’s 329-seat legislature.

Hashd leaders have rejected the results as a "scam" and said they will appeal ahead of a final tally expected in the next few weeks.

Baghdad insists the elections were transparent and fair.

The leaders of these Shia factions have called on their supporters to go out in full force to reject the results, with many claiming they were the worst elections ever witnessed in Iraq.