MİDDLE EAST

Seven dead, more than 30 wounded in southern Iraq's rally

Security forces responds to demonstrators in Basra because of lack of public services

Anadolu Agency

Seven protesters are dead and more than 30 wounded during a rally after security forces opened fire in Iraq’s southern Basra province Tuesday.

Security forces responded to protesters who staged the demonstration due to the lack of public services, according to local sources.

Demonstrators set the governor's building on fire, the sources said.

Basra Operations Command declared a curfew after the incidents.

Roughly 80 percent of Iraq’s overall crude oil exports originate from oilfields in Basra province.

For years, residents have complained that foreign nationals, rather than locals, were being employed by the domestic energy sector.

They also complain of frequent power outages amid summer temperatures that often reach as high as 50 degrees Celsius (122 F).

Since July 9, the province, as well as other southern and central Shia-majority provinces, have witnessed ongoing protests which have spread to capital, Baghdad.

Demonstrators demand improved public services like water and electricity, more job opportunities and an end to government corruption.

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