Iraq’s caretaker PM Haidar al-Abadi on Tuesday ordered the interior ministry to conduct an immediate investigation into the protests which swept southern oil rich city of Basra.
Abadi stressed that those who were fueling the confrontations between the protesters and the security forces would be held accountable.
Abadi pointed out that this kind of confrontation aims to hit the institutions of the state and the security services, stressing that he issued orders not to fire live bullets at the protesters.
On the other hand the interior ministry spokesman Saad Maan said that the security situation in Basra is under control, adding that the city hall of the province was partially burned.
Following the deteriorating situation in the wake of the protests which started on Monday, leaving at least six people dead and more than 20 injured, the interior ministry imposed a citywide curfew.
In a tweet, Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr, who heads Sairoon block, the biggest with 54 seats in the parliament, appeared to back the protesters, condemning the tactics used by some members of the security forces against who he said were “unarmed demonstrators who only want to live with dignity.”
Iraq’s second biggest city, Basra is a stronghold of al-Sadr, who cast himself as an anti-corruption campaigner.
The United Nations envoy to Iraq calls for calm
In a statement, Jan Kubis, the UN’s special representative in Iraq, called on “the authorities to avoid using disproportionate, lethal force against the demonstrators.”
He also urged authorities to “investigate and hold accountable those responsible for the outbreak of violence.”
Kubis in his statement called on the government “to do its utmost to respond to the people’s rightful demands of clean water and electricity supplies as a matter of urgency.”
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