Abadi orders probe into protester’s murder in Basra

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. File photo

Baghdad ( – Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-abadi ordered on Tuesday a probe into the murder of an Iraqi protester in Basra governorate yesterday.

Speaking at a weekly press conference, Abadi said that he “issued directives to investigate the murder of the protester, who was killed in Basra governorate yesterday.”

“Our directives to security forces are clear. Do not fire live bullets at protesters,” he clarified.

Earlier in the day, Head of the Basra Provincial Council Walid al-Kitan ordered evacuating the government building in Basra from staffers “for security reasons.”

“The evacuation process came as a precautionary measure after a protester was killed yesterday while taking part in a rally in Basra,” a security source said.

Thousands of demonstrators gathered outside the Basra provincial headquarters Monday to protest against corruption, poor public services and unemployment.

Protesters hurled stones, set fire to tires and tried to storm the building, prompting security forces to open fire at them, leaving a protester dead.

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. The demonstrators are rallying against poor public services and corruption.

The demonstrations started last July 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.

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