Funerals held in Iraq after protesters breach fortified Green Zone

Funerals were held on Saturday for two Iraqi people killed a day earlier during riots within Baghdad’s Green Zone, a secured area meant to protect government officials and foreign diplomats.

They were among two of four killed and nearly a hundred injured Friday after thousands of demonstrators, who are reportedly followers of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, breached the fortified section of Iraq’s capital city. The protest was over the country’s lack of security and the government’s failure to pass anti-corruption laws.

Iraqi military officials said members of the military were stabbed during the melee as they pushed back against hundreds of people who entered the compound, some breaking into the offices of the prime minister and parliament, the Associated Press reported.

On Friday, Iraqi security forces used tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd, in some cases opening fire with live ammunition, witnesses said.

The Iraqi government has in recent months pushed back against the Islamic State, which has seized large swaths of territory from the embattled country. Iraq also been wrought with internal conflicts brought on by sectarian fighting.

The violence Friday was the second time in recent weeks that protesters infiltrated the Green Zone, where much of the country’s government is headquartered under tight security along with foreign missions to Iraq.

The funerals Saturday were in a procession that weaved through Bagdhad’s streets along with hundreds of supporters.