The Iraqi security forces used batons and waterspouts to disperse the demonstration that gathered hundreds of protesters at the main entrance of Al-Zubair oil field in Basra province, amid tensions and massive protests in south of Iraq because of the deterioration of public services.
Ten days ago, thousands of protestors attacked governmental buildings and offices of political parties, as well as the international airport in Najaf, calling for jobs and enhancing their lives. Meanwhile, local officials stressed that the production of the field had not been affected by the security situation, and the security forces vowed to use all the necessary measures to keep protesters away from the fields.
The protests witnessed burning images of Iran’s former supreme religious leader, Ruhollah Khomeini, on a main street in Basra, as a sign of rejecting the Iranian intervention in Iraqi internal affairs. Protests began in Basra, but extended to other cities across the country. Basra is Iraq’s third largest city, which is responsible for about 70% of Iraq’s oil production.
On Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi held a press conference to comment on the recent developments. He vowed to work for countering corruption and enhancing the public services. He also added that his government requested a Japanese company to complete the Basra water project, but “we were shocked, as the Japanese experts have left Iraq over the protests.”
Two months ago, Iraq witnessed a parliamentary election that resulted in the victory of the political bloc led by Shia cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr, who is a rival to the US and is known for opposing the US and Iranian interventions in Iraqi affairs. The electoral process faces a lot of accusations of being falsified.