Thousands of protesters in the city of Basra in southern Iraq announced the start of civil disobedience on Sunday. The Ports Authority announced the closure of the port of Umm Qasr because of the continued sit-in demonstrators in front of the gate of the port.
The civil disobedience announcement comes just hours after the meeting between Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi Al-Muntafiki, the security leaders, and the Interior Minister to discuss the protection of demonstrators in Baghdad and other provinces, according to statements from the Iraqi government.
The protesters rejected the army’s call to stay away from the northern and southern ports of Umm Qasr. They insisted on their stance that changing the regime is the main condition for resuming business on the port.
Protesters gathered in Tahrir and Al-Sunk Squares in central Baghdad and surrounding areas, as well as in the southern provinces where there are Shiite majorities. They asked for the meeting of their demands for political and economic reform, fighting corruption, and achieving social justice.
On Saturday, riot police attempted to disperse demonstrators outside the port, sparking clashes between the two sides. About 120 protestors were injured and suffocated with tear gas on the road leading to the port.
In Baghdad, schools closed in response to a strike called by the Teachers’ Union.
For its part, the security authorities closed on Saturday the streets of Abu Nawas, Harithiya, and Qadisiya with concrete blocks to restrict the access of demonstrators to Tahrir Square.
Moreover, the Baghdad Operations Command also issued a decision to reduce curfew hours in the capital to four hours.