Iraq protests: 12 killed, almost 600 injured
At least 12 demonstrators have been killed and 571 injured in southern Iraq, officials said, as protests against unemployment spread on Saturday from the port city of Basra to other parts of the country including Baghdad.
Protests that began last week in Iraq are continuing amid widespread anger over abysmal public services provision by the government.
The unrest threatens to delay formation of a new government, mandated after Iraq’s elections in May, and has already led to break-ins to oil facilities and political offices.
First sparked in the oil-rich southern province of Basra and spreading to several cities including the capital Baghdad, Iraqis are voicing their frustrations over widespread unemployment, pollution, dirty drinking water and electricity failures during a stifling heat wave in the country’s south. While many of the protests have been peaceful, others have seen buildings set on fire, roads blocked and infrastructure damaged, CNBC reported.
Officially, 10.8% of Iraqis are jobless, while youth unemployment is twice as high in a country where 60% of the population is aged under 24.