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Relatives of Iraqi soldiers either kidnapped or killed by the Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS, stormed into the parliament building in Baghdad on Tuesday. The protests, which eventually turned violent, reportedly forced the administration to evacuate its ministers from the building.
"The streets now have been completely locked down," Al Jazeera reported, citing its correspondent at the site, adding that armored vehicles and water cannons were deployed to rein in the protesters. The report also said the protesters were looking for "answers" from the Iraqi government and "the bodies" of the dead soldiers.
“Shortly after the protesting began, the relatives entered the Parliament building,” Rudaw, a Kurdish news agency reported, adding that members of parliament were taken to a safe location. Of the more than 1,000 angry protesters who had gathered at the location shouting slogans against the government, 15 were reportedly allowed inside the building to meet with ministers.
“The protesters number more than 1,000,” Salim Shushkayi, a member of parliament said according to Rudaw, adding: “They wave black flags. They push towards the gates and refuse to listen to anyone."
However, a report from Reuters stated that more than 100 relatives of Iraqi soldiers abducted by the Islamic State, attacked the parliament with sticks, metal bars and stones.
The Islamic State, which recently beheaded nearly 250 Kurdish fighters, had raided Camp Speicher, lying just outside Tikrit. The extremist group claimed to have killed several military personnel there in an attack in June. Later, the Sunni militant group, which has seized large parts of northwestern Iraq, is estimated to have killed nearly 1,700 military personnel on the attack on Camp Speicher.