RELIGION

The Latest: Iraqis announce disbanding of Green Zone protest

  • Protesters and supporters of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr chant slogans calling for governmental reforms as they wave national flags during a sit-in inside Baghdad's highly fortified Green Zone, Sunday, May 1, 2016. Anti-government protesters tore down walls and poured into the Iraqi capital's heavily fortified Green Zone yesterday, where they stormed parliament in a major escalation of a political crisis that has simmered for months. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

    Protesters and supporters of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr chant slogans calling for governmental reforms as they wave national flags during a sit-in inside Baghdad's highly fortified Green Zone, Sunday, May 1, 2016. Anti-government protesters tore down walls and poured into the Iraqi capital's heavily fortified Green Zone yesterday, where they stormed parliament in a major escalation of a political crisis that has simmered for months. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)  (The Associated Press)

  • Protesters and supporters of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr chant slogans calling for governmental reforms as they wave national flags during a sit-in inside Baghdad's highly fortified Green Zone, Sunday, May 1, 2016. Anti-government protesters tore down walls and poured into the Iraqi capital's heavily fortified Green Zone yesterday, where they stormed parliament in a major escalation of a political crisis that has simmered for months. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

    Protesters and supporters of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr chant slogans calling for governmental reforms as they wave national flags during a sit-in inside Baghdad's highly fortified Green Zone, Sunday, May 1, 2016. Anti-government protesters tore down walls and poured into the Iraqi capital's heavily fortified Green Zone yesterday, where they stormed parliament in a major escalation of a political crisis that has simmered for months. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)  (The Associated Press)

The Latest on Iraq's political crisis (all times local):

7:00 p.m.

Anti-government protesters in Iraq have temporarily ended their mass demonstration and are withdrawing from Baghdad's Green Zone.

Followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr tore down walls and poured into the heavily guarded area on Saturday, storming parliament in the culmination of months of sit-ins and demonstrations calling for political reform.

But on Sunday loudspeakers manned by al-Sadr's followers announced the disbanding of the protests, and the demonstrators began filing out of the Green Zone in an orderly manner.

Al-Sadr's movement has demanded an overhaul of Iraq's political system, which is widely seen as corrupt and ineffectual.

The crisis comes as the government is struggling to combat the Islamic State group -- which still controls large areas in the north and west -- and address an economic crisis largely brought on by lower oil prices.

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10:45 a.m.

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.