Iraqi police open fire on dozens of protestors

File photo of a member of the oil police force standing guard, north of Basra, southeast of Baghdad. (Reuters)

Iraqi police opened fire to disperse dozens of protesters Sunday near the southern oil hub of Basra as they demonstrated against a shortage of jobs, electricity, water and other basic services, according to Reuters.

Police sources said eight protesters were wounded in the shooting, while one local mayor said a demonstrator was killed and three were wounded.

The local mayor, Yaseen al-Battat, from the Imam Sadiq area said, “Protestors were only making fair demands for jobs and better basic services but police opened fire and killed one protester.”

According to Reuters, the protestors, from farmland areas near Basra, gathered on a highway located near the southern oilfields perimeters of West Qurna.

The oilfields are being developed by Russia’s Lukoil, and the West Qurna oilfield is operated by by Exxon Mobil.

However, police and oil officials said that the demonstrations did not affect the security or operations of the giant southern oilfields.

Local communities and tribes in Iraq, where foreign oil companies often develop the OPEC nation's vast energy reserves, regularly protest to urge companies to provide jobs and other benefits.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:53 - GMT 06:53