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Five protesters killed in Basra in second night of clashes with security forces

2018-09-06 15:34
Five protesters were killed and 16 more were injured during a second night of clashes with security forces in Iraq's main southern city Basra on Tuesday (September 4), local health and security sources said. Hundreds of people gathered at local government buildings in the city and hurled petrol bombs and stones while attempted to block roads leading to the building. Some protesters stormed one of the provincial government buildings and set it alight. It was some of the worst unrest reported during months of protests sweeping the long-neglected south, heartland of Iraq's Shi'ite Muslim majority. Security forces fired live rounds in the air as well as tear gas to try and disperse the crowd, local sources said. Twenty-two members of the security forces were also wounded, some by a hand grenade, the sources said. Pillars of smoke could be seen billowing from the outer perimeter of the provincial government headquarters, where many had gathered earlier on Tuesday to mourn a protester who died on Monday (September 3) night, Yasser Makki. The government buildings in Basra have been the target of demonstrators who are demanding better public services and an end to corruption. Protests have swept cities in the long-neglected south, Iraq's Shi'ite Muslim heartland, over electricity outages during the hot Iraqi summer, a lack of jobs and proper government services, and entrenched graft. But public anger has swelled at a time when politicians are struggling to form a new government after an inconclusive parliamentary election in May. Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has expressed support for the protests.