Iraqi premier orders security forces to protect civilians, property against assaults

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. File photo

Baghdad ( – Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has called on security forces to protect citizens and property against different assaults as demonstrations over poor public services and corruption across southern Iraqi provinces entered their 10th day.

Speaking at a weekly press conference, Abadi was quoted by Alsumaria News as saying that he totally supports “the legitimate rights of protesters as long as their demonstrations are peaceful and far from violence.”

He also called on Iraqi people to cooperate with the government to arrest corrupt people and those targeting the country’s public security.

Mass demonstrations against unemployment, corruption and poor services spread further across southern Iraqi provinces, prompting Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to rush from a NATO summit in Brussels to Basra to meet with local officials and tribal leaders in a bid to restore calm.

The demonstrations started last week in Basra province, but they later extended to other cities, including Amara, Nasiriya, Karbala and the Shiite holy city of Najaf. There were also protests in parts of the capital, Baghdad.

Iraq was on the verge of forming a coalition government following the May 12 parliamentary election, which was marred by allegations of fraud.

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