Two demonstrators killed as Iraq protests hit second week

Protesters demonstrate against unemployment in front of oil fields in al-Qurnah some 100 kilometers north of Basra on Saturday

Protesters demonstrate against unemployment in front of oil fields in al-Qurnah some 100 kilometers north of Basra on Saturday

Seven protesters were injured in Iraqi city of Basra on Saturday after clashing with security forces.

Iraq is now in political limbo as the country looks to form a new government after populist Sadr's surprise poll win saw long-time political figures pushed out by voters seeking change in a country mired in conflict and corruption.

"Hundreds of people tried to storm a courthouse".

At least two people have died in the protests in the city of Amara as protesters blocked roads, lit tires on fire and, according to a spokesman for area health authorities, fired guns "indiscriminately". "We had no choice but to open fire", said the police official in Samawa.

Around noon on Sunday, Basra anti-riot police fired water cannon and tear gas to disperse the protesters, said Sadiq Saleh, one of the demonstrators.

Kuwait Airways, the Royal Jordanian and Iran's Aviation Authority suspended their flights to Najaf on Sunday, citing security concerns.

Internet access in Iraq has been dramatically reduced.

Aside from demonstrating at the gates of the symbols of OPEC producer Iraq's oil wealth, protesters also shut down the Umm Qasr commodities port, which receives grain, vegetable oils and sugar shipments.

Any potential disruptions could severely impact Iraq's limping economy, though officials said the protests had not so far impacted crude production.

The elections, the fourth since the US -led invasion that toppled ruler Saddam Hussein, saw the lowest turnout in 15 years and were marred with allegations of fraud and irregularities.

"These announcements are just anesthetization to the residents of Basra", Hussein, the activist, said. He held up a piece of cardboard to shield his head from the scorching sun.

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Kuwait's chief lawmaker, Marzouq Al Ghanim, said on Sunday, after the phone call between Sheikh Sabah and Mr Al Abadi, that the cabinet will be holding a joint meeting with parliament to discuss the latest developments in Iraq.

The demonstrations have also led to global flights to the shrine city of Najaf being canceled, as the airport was closed after dozens of protesters forced their way into the waiting room Friday despite a heavy police presence.

Flights from Iran to Najaf will be diverted to Baghdad, Iranian state television reported.

A large contingent from Saraya al-Salam, a militia loyal to prominent Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr whose electoral list came out in front in elections in May, also deployed in the streets.

On Saturday evening, the prime minister announced investment worth $3 billion (2.6 billion euros) for Basra province, as well as pledging additional spending on housing, schools and services.

Iraq needs to generate billions of dollars to rebuild after its three-year war with Daesh.

More than 75 per cent of Iraq's accessible oil reserves are found in Basra.

Basra and southern Iraq are predominately Arab Shiite populated.

"We need water and electricity".

This time the unrest is more widespread and demonstrators have for the first time attacked provincial government headquarters and even buildings belonging to powerful Shi'ite paramilitary groups.

In a bid to contain the protests, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi dispatched a six-minister committee headed by the oil minister, Jabar Ali al Luaibi.

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