Protesters in Iraq's Green Zone disband after issuing political demands, though pledging to return by the end of the week to keep up the pressure.

Followers of Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al Sadr gather at Grand Festivities Square within the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq, May 1, 2016.
Followers of Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al Sadr gather at Grand Festivities Square within the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq, May 1, 2016.

Protesters left Baghdad's Green Zone on Sunday where they camped out for 24 hours after issuing demands for political reform.

But protesters pledged to return by the end of the week to keep up the pressure.

Thousands of supporters of Shiite Muslim cleric Moqtada al Sadr stormed Baghdad's Green Zone on Saturday and entered the parliament building after divided parliament has failed to convene for a vote on overhauling the government.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi called for the protesters to be pursued and punished on Sunday.

Sadr wants to see Abadi's proposed technocrat government approved, ending a quota system blamed for rampant corruption.

Among demands are also the resignation of the president, prime minister and parliamentary speaker and new elections.

A spokeswoman of protesters said that if none of the demands are met, they would resort to "all legitimate means" including civil disobedience.

Abadi says that turmoil could serve the DAESH terrorist organisation, which controls large swathes of northern and western Iraq.

DAESH carried out a car bomb attack on Saturday and two more on Sunday that killed more than 50 people in total.

"The political crisis is having a very negative influence on our war against DAESH," said Iraqi lawmaker Yonadam Kanna, adding, "I can tell you DAESH is very happy that there are these demonstrations in Baghdad."

Abadi met with Sadr on Sunday but the protesters said that the high-level meetings would continue in coming days "to ensure radical reforms of the political process."

Followers of Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al Sadr gather at Grand Festivities Square within the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq, May 1, 2016. (Reuters)
Followers of Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al Sadr gather at Grand Festivities Square within the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq, May 1, 2016. (Reuters)

A politician who attended the talks said Abadi had faced accusations of mishandling the crisis. Another said the conflict had become an intra-Shiite battle over who will run Iraq.

The Green Zone, a 10-square-kilometre district on the banks of the Tigris River which also houses many foreign embassies, has been off-limits to most Iraqis since the US-led invasion in 2003.

A demonstrator named Humam said he was shocked by the contrast between the poverty in which most Iraqis like him live and the comparative luxury inside the central district, which he had never entered before.

"There is electricity and street lighting, there is more water here than I expected. Even the plants are different," he said. "It is the people's right to enter this area because [the politicians] are living in conditions that don't even exist in Iraq. I didn't imagine this existed in Iraq."

Another protester who referred to parliament as "the council of traitors" said he wanted to see top officials removed.

"They have done nothing good for Iraq, only destruction, sectarian wars, hunger and no services."

Source: TRTWorld and agencies