7 killed, 50 injured during Basra protests Friday: Health Ministry

Protesters gather near the main provincial government building in Basra, Iraq July 15, 2018. REUTERS/Essam al-Sudani

Baghdad ( – Seven people were killed and 50 others injured during Basra protests on Friday, the Iraqi Health Ministry announced.

In statements to Alsumaria News TV channel on Saturday, Seif al-Badr, the ministry’s spokesman, said that “the injured included 48 civilians and two security men.”

Oil-rich Basra is one of the southern Iraqi cities that have recently witnessed mass protests over the dire state of the nation’s economy.

Demonstrators also voiced anger over water contamination and poor public services in the province, renewing earlier protests in July that followed the parliament polls held in May.

Earlier in the day, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi warned that unrest in the southern province of Basra could turn into an armed conflict.

“We have to separate the political aspect from the security and service one, otherwise, the disagreement will develop into an armed conflict,” Abadi told an exceptional parliament session on Saturday.

A curfew was imposed in Basra governorate at 4:00 pm (local time) today amid large protests against corruption and lack of basic services.

Also, a security source noted that a security campaign will be launched soon in the governorate to arrest rioters involved in burning of building and state institutions.

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