Protesters in oil-rich Basra threaten to block bridges, roads

Iraqis shout slogans during ongoing protests in the southern city of Basra on August 5, 2018. (AFP)

Protests resumed on Sunday, in front of the local government headquarters in oil-rich Basra south of Iraq, while its main entrance was closed.

Meanwhile, the protests’ coordinating committees in Basra announced the completion of preparations for what they described as the largest demonstration and sit-in inside the province to protest the deterioration of living conditions.

The committees explained that the federal and local governments had not fulfilled the promises to meet the demands that had been handed over to them by the coordinating committees earlier.

Furthermore, the coordinating committees stressed that the ceiling of the demands rose after an agreement between all concerned parties and now the main demand to be met is the anti-political process as a whole, including demands to cancel the Constitution and parties.

The protesters vowed to escalate peaceful sit-ins, to take out stronger forms of protest, such as cutting off the main bridges of the province in the absence of a real response to their demands.

Ahmad al-Safi, representing the Shiite leadership in Najaf pointed out during Friday sermon to the need of the resumption of protests until all demands are met.

Al- Safi said: “Rights are taken and not given” in a reference to the continuous protests until demands are met, pointing to the political, social and financial problems which will only be solved by “anger.”

In the meantime, Iraqi prime minister Haidar al-Abadi pledged to provide public jobs for some and to implement development projects in the Babel governorate south of Iraq.

Al-Abadi’s pledges came following a meeting with tribal leaders and local official from Babel, in an efforts to defuse tension arising from the ongoing popular demonstrations for the past one month in a number of southern Iraqi governorates.

Prime Minster Haidar al-Abadi on July 29 sacked Electricity Minister Qassem al-Fahdawi, whose departure had been demanded by demonstrators.

Adding to tensions, the country still awaits the results of a partial recount of May 12 elections, while political factions jostle to cobble together a coalition under the watchful eyes of regional powers, including Tehran.

Protests erupted in Basra, a port city, on July 8 against corruption, social ills and the political leadership.

Also Read: Iraq protests leave 14 dead in two weeks

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:52 - GMT 06:52
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