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May 1, 3:43 AM EDT

Iraq: PM orders arrest of protesters who attacked lawmakers

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AP Photo/Anmar Khalil

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BAGHDAD (AP) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has ordered authorities to arrest and bring to justice protesters who attacked security forces, lawmakers and damaged properties of state institutions after breaking into Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone to protest delays in reform plans.

Al-Abadi's Sunday statement came a day after hundreds of angry anti-government followers of influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr tore down blast walls and poured into the parliament building, exacerbating a long-simmering political crisis. Late Saturday, al-Abadi toured inside the parliament building, walking past damaged furniture.

Videos on social media showed a group of young men slapping two Iraqi lawmakers as they attempted to flee the crowd, while other protesters mobbed lawmakers' motorcades.

The protesters eventually left the parliament Saturday night and rallied at a nearby square.

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