Protests continued in Basra for a fourth straight day. The demonstrations, which actually began in July, over jobs, infrastructure, and corruption had tapered off until recently, when salt intrusion into the water supply reportedly sickened up to 30,000 people who sought medical help. Thousands gathered on the streets on Thursday. A protest was reported in neighboring Muthanna province as well. That one drew in hundreds who called for better healthcare.
Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called for a special parliamentary session to address the situation, but the parliament isn’t scheduled to meet before September 15, and previous promises have been broken. Despite being a significant source of Iraq’s oil, the province’s citizens do not see much of that wealth.
A 3:00 p.m. curfew was pushed back to 10:30 p.m. but few security personnel were seen after dark. The Independent High Commission for human rights reported that 12 civilians were killed since the start of this month. At least 93 civilians and 18 security personnel were wounded.
Today, the provincial government building was reported engulfed in flames. Rioters also set fire to the local offices of the al-Iraqiya channel, and the headquarters of the Dawa Party, the Islamic Supreme Council and the Badr Organization. And, the offices of the Hikma Movement and Asaib Ahl al-Haq were also set ablaze. The home of the acting head of the provincial council was also attacked. Arsonists struck Al-Ghadeer TV and Al-Nakhil Radio facilities too. The port of Umm al-Qasr remained closed due to a protester blockade.
At least 12 people were killed, and 46 were wounded in recent violence:
On a highway between Baquba and Muqdadiya, gunmen killed two people and wounded five more.
In Baghdad, a bomb wounded two people.
Seven militants were killed in the Hamrin Hills.