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Protests against corruption, rising prices and unemployment are spreading in southern Iraq

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Protests against corruption, rising prices and unemployment are spreading in southern Iraq

Post by RamblerNash on Sat Jul 14, 2018 10:58 am

Protests against corruption, rising prices and unemployment are spreading in southern Iraq

Saturday 14 July

Demonstrations in southern Iraq continued for the sixth consecutive day in protest against unemployment. Protests began in Basra and later spread to other southern provinces such as Dhi Qar, Maysan , Najaf and Babil.

Hundreds of Iraqis stormed the Shi'ite holy city of Najaf and stopped air traffic on Friday, extending protests over weak government services and corruption after the Basra demonstrations.

But Iraqi state television later said protesters had withdrawn from the airport and that air traffic was moving normally and regularly.

In the city of Nasiriyah in the province of Dhi Qar, protesters and members of the security forces were injured, after the protesters arrived to gather in front of the governor's building, according to a medical source.

Iraqi media outlets reported that demonstrations took place outside the headquarters of the Dawa Party, which belongs to Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi , in Maysan province.

Iraq's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who is rarely involved in politics, expressed his solidarity with the protesters and said they faced a "severe lack of public services" such as electricity in the heat of the choking summer.

Tensions were mounting in Basra after a demonstrator was killed on Sunday by gunfire during a demonstration against unemployment and lack of public services, especially electricity, officials and witnesses said.

As the protests escalated, Abadi went to Basra from Brussels, where he was attending an international coalition meetingAgainst the organization of the Islamic state, and met with the command of military operations of the province and Governor Asaad al-Eidani and the director of energy company, in addition to his meeting later with tribal sheikhs.

Oil exports from Basra account for more than 95 percent of the revenues of Iraq, a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Any disruption to production would seriously damage the struggling economy.

The unemployment rate among Iraqis is officially 10.8%. Under-24s make up 60 percent of Iraq's population, making unemployment twice as high among young people, AFP reported.

The tension comes amid attempts to form a coalition government after parliamentary elections on May 12, which were accused of fraud


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