Protesters opposed to Maliki’s southern Iraq tour storm conference

Protesters storm Vce President Nouri al-Maliki’s conference in Basra.

Basra ( Protesters enraged over a visit by vice president and former PM Nouri al-Maliki to Basra stormed on Sunday the hall where Maliki was supposed to hold a partisan conference.

A security source told Rudaw agency that Maliki walked out once protesters broke into the room, and security forces cordoned the facility off.

Earlier on Sunday, Basra had seen angry protests condemning Maliki’s visit. On Saturday, protesters surrounded Maliki’s place of stay in Maysan to voice opposition to his visit to the province. On Thursday, the province of Dhi Qar, which was also included in Maliki’s tour, witnessed angry protests unwelcoming the former prime minister, with demonstrators reportedly hoisting shoes and hurling stones at his convoy.

Protesters at all the provinces condemned what they described as corruption and security failures under Maliki. Besides the emergence of the Islamic State and its occupation of large parts of Iraq during Maliki’s tenure, demonstrators also blamed him for the security failure that led to the June 2014 massacre of more than 1900 air force cadets at Speicher air base north of Iraq by ISIS.

Maliki became prime minister for the first time in 2006, amid a high tide of sectarian conflicts and losses to Islamic State militants. He left his post reluctantly in August 2014 to current premier Haider al-Abadi, becoming vice president of Iraqi incumbent president Fuad Masum.

He faced popular anti-corruption protests near the end of his tenure, and an Iraqi parliamentary panel had blamed him for the fall of the city of Mosul to ISIS.

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