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Protests in Iraq leave 5 dead, 190 injured

July 17, 2018 at 1:17 am

Iraqi citizens protest against the government on 15 July 2018 [Hayder Abu Rizq/Anadolu Agency]

Protests in southern Iraq have left at least five dead and 190 injured as they entered an eighth day, a human rights body said Monday, Anadolu reports.

Demonstrators have been rallying against corruption and power shortages and are demanding more job opportunities and improved public services, Fadil el-Garavi, a member of the Human Rights Commission linked to the Iraqi parliament, told Anadolu Agency, lamenting over the injured, which included 128 security force members.

He added that details on the causalities will be officially announced Tuesday by the commission.

The protests have been taking place in the cities of Basra, Maysan, Dhi Qar, Najaf, Karbala and the capital, Baghdad.

READ: Dozens wounded as police fire on protesters in Iraq

Tensions have steadily mounted in Basra since last week when a demonstrator was killed by security forces while taking part in protests against high unemployment and chronic power outages, with the protests spreading to several other provinces.

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

For years, Basra 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 degrees Fahrenheit).