UN envoy condemns turmoil in Basra after week of violent protests

Protesters block the road to Iraq’s Umm Qasr port, south of Basra, Iraq July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Essam al-Sudani

BAGHDAD ( – Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq Ján Kubiš condemned on Sunday violence and riots between security forces and protesters in Basra governorate over the past days.

In a statement published on the website of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), Kubiš slammed “attacks on government, political parties and media offices, hospitals, oil installation and the airport.”

“These acts of violence have nothing to do with the people’s rightful demands for services, jobs and against corruption and work against their very legitimate rights and expectations of dignified peaceful life,” the statement read.

Kubiš further urged the Iraqi authorities “to ensure law and order and take firm action against instigators of violence, against provocateurs and infiltrators with destructive political agenda aimed at sowing chaos.”

He further called on security forces to protect the genuine protesters, act in full respect for human rights and take all necessary steps to protect diplomatic and consular premises, as well as public and private property.

Iraqi authorities lifted on Saturday night a curfew in Iraq’s southern oil hub Basra seven hours after it was enforced there to quell escalating protests.

A security source said, “the curfew was lifted at 11 pm (local time) after it came into effect at 4 pm.”

According to the source, “the decision to lift the curfew in Basra was taken following the heavy deployment of security forces in the governorate and improvement of the security situation there.”

A sense of calm returned Basra yesterday after a week of violent protests over unemployment and poor public services.

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