Father of protester killed in Iraq hails son as ‘hero of Basra rights’

In a separate video, the relatives of Kaabi, carrying weapons on their shoulders, loudly condemned the repression of peaceful protests.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A demonstrator was killed on Monday after security forces tried to disperse dozens of protesters near a government headquarter in Basra as rallies near the provincial office building continue for the third day in a row.

During the demonstrations, angry protesters hurled stones at the building as security forces tried to disperse the crowds with tear gas. However, security personnel traveling in Hummer vehicles rushed at the scene and began to fire live ammunition.

Amidst the chaos, a man by the name of Maki Yasser al-Kaabi was shot. People quickly rushed him to a hospital but he bled to death before he could be helped, a medical source told Kurdistan 24.

In a video shared on social media, the father of the slain demonstrator was at the hospital morgue, inspecting his son’s body and praising him for dying while “fighting for the rights of the people of Basra.”

“This is my son who died for Basra; my son is a hero.”

In a separate video, the relatives of Kaabi, carrying weapons on their shoulders, loudly condemned the repression of peaceful protests.

Kurdistan 24 could not reach any security official for comment on protesters accusing the police chief of sanctioning security personnel to open fire on demonstrators.

Basra has been beset by scattered demonstrations across the province and security forces continue efforts to suppress their expansion with troops deployed in the streets, near government institutions, banks, and oilfields.

For weeks, protesters have called for essential services, including clean water and electricity, to improve, and for the government to tackle widespread corruption and high unemployment.

The demonstrations are part of protests that swept across the central and southern Iraqi provinces, which experienced chronic power shortages during the summer months and have high unemployment rates, especially among the youth.

Protesters in Basra also denounced the government’s neglect of drinking water and desalination standards. There have been over 15,000 cases of water poisoning in the province, and the number continues to increase as the local government has not yet addressed the issue.

Over the past few months, 15 Iraqi protesters have been killed and hundreds more injured, according to local human rights groups.

Iraq remains high on Transparency International’s Corruption Index as widespread fraud and mismanagement in state institutions are the most significant challenges the country has faced since the fall of the former regime nearly 15 years ago.

In 2017, Iraq ranked 166 out of 176 as the most corrupt country in the world.

Editing by Nadia Riva