Demonstrations for more jobs and better services continued into Saturday. Basra, Karbala, and Najaf were placed under curfew. Internet access was curtailed in Baghdad, Basra, and Najaf, while social media was shut down even as far north as the Kurdistan Region, possibly to halt the spread of information over the protests.
In order to quell the unrest, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said he would give Basra province $3 billion in investment aid. Due to its oil reserves, Basra province produces much of Iraq’s wealth, but gets little in return from the federal government. Meanwhile, the National Security Council warned that small groups are attempting to commandeer the protests to sow unrest.
Overall, at least two people were killed and 33 were injured across Iraq:
In Najaf, two people were killed and seven were wounded. Calm returned to the city after security personnel were deployed. Nineteen people were wounded in Maysan province. Civilians and security personnel were among the injured. Seven protesters were injured in Basra.
Rioters stormed a government building in the holy city of Karbala.
Government or Shi’ite party offices were attacked in Amara, Babil, Basra, Karbala, Kut, and Nasariya. Although the southern provinces are predominantly Shi’ite, citizens are blaming the Shi’ite parties in power, and their association with Iran, for the issues plaguing Iraq.
Read more by Margaret Griffis
- Basra Protests Turn Violent Again; Two Killed in Iraq – January 18th, 2019
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- ISIS Members Poisoned by Relative; Seven Killed in Iraq – January 12th, 2019