Iraqis stage fresh sit-in in Basra as deadline expires

By Ali Jawad

BAGHDAD (AA) – Hundreds of Iraqis on Tuesday staged a sit-in outside Basra’s provincial council building amid ongoing protests across southern Iraq against poor public services, high unemployment and perceived government corruption.

The sit-in was organized after the government failed to meet demonstrators’ demands by a Tuesday deadline.

One day earlier, hundreds of protesters stopped Iraqi security forces from dispersing a similar sit-in at Basra’s West Qurna 2 oilfield.

A third sit-in, meanwhile, in which hundreds of demonstrators are reportedly taking part, remains underway outside Basra’s Al-Zubeir oilfield.

“Protests have mushroomed across Basra province as the people realize that the government doesn’t care about their grievances,” Rafed al-Kinani, one of the protesters outside the provincial council building, told Anadolu Agency by phone.

Ongoing protests in southern Iraq — which erupted earlier this month and have since spread to the capital — have reportedly left several people dead and hundreds more injured.