Protests Spread, Turn Deadly in Iraq

Protests Spread, Turn Deadly in IraqProtests Spread, Turn Deadly in Iraq

At least eight people are dead and dozens injured in weeklong protests over jobs and basic services, Iraq’s Ministry of Health spokesman Saif al-Bader said Monday.

The protests started in the southern Iraq port city of Basra and spread to different areas of the country. At least 56 people have been wounded, seven of them critically, Bader said in a press conference, CNN reported.

Of the eight dead, two were killed in Basra, two in Najaf, three in al-Simawa and one in Karbala. A ministry health worker was killed in a car accident related to the protests and one ambulance worker remains in critical condition, Bader said.

The Ministry of Electricity has taken steps to improve service in Basra, said spokesman Musa’ab al-Mudaris at the same press conference.

Angry protests over unemployment and the lack of basic services have spread across southern Iraq since last week, as the oil-rich country tries to recover after many years of war.

Starting in Basra, the protests were exacerbated by issues such as sweltering heat, power cuts, water quality and sanitation problems.

The outpouring on the street spread through other provinces in the country’s Shia heartland in the south, such as Dhi Qar, Najaf, Maysan and Babil. Protests also took place in Baghdad, the nation’s capital.

While some protests have been largely peaceful, others included rock-throwing, setting tires and buildings on fire and blocking roads.

Hundreds demonstrated at oil installations, political parties and government buildings. Internet outages have been widespread except for Irbil and other Kurdish areas in northern Iraq.

CAPTION: Iraqi protesters chant slogans demanding services and jobs during a demonstration in Tahrir Square, Baghdad, on July 14.


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