ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Mass demonstrations continued in the oil-rich city of Basra on Thursday as protesters set fire to other parts of the city’s governorate and provincial council buildings as well as other government and political parties’ offices.
Protests over chronic shortages in essential services and widespread governmental corruption have reheated following the death of at least nine people and injuries to over 100 in clashes between security forces and demonstrators.
Late Thursday afternoon, hundreds of protesters gathered at the Basra governorate and provincial council building chanting anti-government slogans and calling for improved government services, including the provision of clean drinking water and electricity, witnesses at the scene of the demonstrations told Kurdistan 24.
Despite the Iraqi government’s measures to control the demonstration, including imposing curfews and deploying large military forces to Basra, protesters set fire to the provincial council building and stormed the governorate building, witnesses said.
According to al-Ghad Press, at least one protester was killed and 30 others wounded near the governorate building. Another protester was killed in the al-Fadhila party's office in Basra.
Demonstrations continued during the evening with protesters attacking the Basra governor’s guest home, setting the building on fire, sources told local Iraqi media outlets.
The sources also said protesters burned the office of the state-run al-Iraqiya TV.
The offices of many Shia political parties also came under attack where the guards responded with live bullets, they added.
Protesters burned the offices of Hadi al-Amiri’s al-Badr Organization, Qais al-Khazali’s Asaib Ahl al-Haq, Nouri al-Maliki’s Islamic Dawa Party and Ammar al-Hakim’s Hikma.
Kurdistan 24 was unable to confirm the number of casualties independently.
Iraqi authorities imposed a curfew in the city to control the situation.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany