Protests in Basra continue over poor public services, corruption

Digital Originals

Iraqi protesters stand on concrete blast walls during a protest near the building of the government office in Basra, Iraq September 5, 2018. REUTERS/Alaa al-Marjani

The oil-rich southern province of Basra, Iraq has been embroiled in continuing protests over poor public services, unemployment and corruption.

Protests in Basra have been ongoing since July, but have amplified this week after contaminated water has led to the hospitalization of at least 20,000 people.

At least nine protestors have died in clashes with security forces this week, as tensions continue to escalate.

Protesters have recently been targeting government buildings and offices.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered an investigation into the clashes in an effort to quell the violence. His government in July said they would invest $3 billion in Basra to improve services, housing and schools, but it is not entirely clear whether the money ever reached the province.

The protests come in the midst of political uncertainty in the Iraqi government following a May parliamentary election that was followed by a contentious recount process that took months to resolve.