Reuters: 10 protesters killed in Baghdad and Basra[/rtl]
[rtl]Date: 2019/11/8 8:51 • 130 times read[/rtl]
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Security forces shot dead at least six protesters in central Baghdad on Thursday and killed four others during a sit-in in the southern city of Basra, police and medical sources said.
Dozens of people have been injured in other parts of the country, and there has been no sign of a decline in weeks of bloody unrest.
Security forces used live ammunition against demonstrators near the Martyrs Bridge in central Baghdad. Live ammunition was also used against demonstrators in Basra, Iraq's main source of oil wealth.
In southern Iraq, dozens of anti-government protesters burned tires and blocked the entrance to the port, preventing trucks from transporting food and vital imports hours after operations resumed, port officials said.
The Iraqi government has failed to find a way out of its biggest challenge in years. The unrest broke the relative calm that followed the defeat of ISIS in 2017.
A crackdown by mostly unarmed protesters has claimed the lives of more than 260 people since unrest erupted on October 1 over job shortages, poor services and infrastructure due to decades of conflict, sanctions and corruption.
Protesters, mostly unemployed youths, blame the political elite that has ruled Iraq since the toppling of Saddam Hussein in a US-led invasion in 2003 and demand a full overhaul of the political system.
Iraq began to feel the financial impact of weeks of unrest, which sparked in Baghdad before spreading quickly to the southern cities.
The port of Umm Qasr briefly resumed operations early on Thursday after most of the demonstrators evacuated the area. But dozens of activists and relatives of a protester killed in weeks of violence have returned to close the main gate, port officials said.
The port receives most of Iraq's grain, vegetable oil and sugar imports.
Oil and security officials said operations resumed on Thursday at the nearby Nassiriya refinery, where protesters stopped fuel tankers from entering or leaving on Wednesday.
Oil ministry officials say the unrest has had little impact on oil production and exports.
But the stoppage of trucks carrying fuel from the Nasiriyah refinery to gas stations across the region has caused fuel shortages in the southern province of Dhi Qar. Oil officials said the refinery had recently been operating at about half its capacity.
In the meantime, the Internet service briefly returned in most parts of Iraq on Thursday before it was cut again after 1 pm local time (1000 GMT). Authorities severely restrict access to the Internet during the protests.
The government says it is making reforms without offering anything that would satisfy most protesters.
Many Iraqis say paying salaries to the poor, providing more job opportunities for graduates and pledges to punish a handful of corrupt officials came too late for those demanding reform of government institutions, a flawed electoral process and a system of governance that fuels rampant corruption.
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]