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Iraq protesters shut down southern oil field

February 2, 2021 at 11:49 am

An Iraqi protester carries a placard which reads in Arabic “I want a homeland, I want a salary, I want a home, I want a share of provisions” during an anti-government demonstration in the southern city of Basra on 13 November 2020. [HUSSEIN FALEH/AFP via Getty Images]

Hundreds of Iraqi protesters on Sunday shut down the Dhi Qar Oil Company in the south of the country and prevented employees from entering it in an effort to highlight the rising unemployment levels in the region, local media outlets reported.

A protester said the move comes one week after the deadline set for the government and the company’s administration to meet demonstrators’ demand that authorities backtrack on their decision to halt employment in the public sector in 2021.

Activists, the majority of whom are graduates of the faculties of engineering, administration, economics and technical institutes have been holding a sit-in in front of the Dhi Qar Oil Company for nearly nine months demanding employment opportunities.

The Iraqi Ministry of Finance said earlier that the 2021 budget, which is currently being discussed by parliament, does not include job creation in the public sector due to the financial crisis affecting the country.

Dhi Qar governorate includes the Nassiriya and Gharaf oil fields which produce about 60 million standard cubic feet of gas per day as well as about 290,000 barrels of oil.

According to the former Minister of Planning, Nuri Al-Dulaimi, the unemployment rate among young adults has reached about 27 per cent.

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