Politics & Economics

Protests Continue In Southern Iraq As Authorities Tighten Security


The protests in southern Iraq have entered their 10th day. Despite statements and pledges from the Prime Minister, Iraqis continue to protest the lack of services, jobs, and infrastructure.

A gradual intensification of the protests in the south of Iraq have prompted the security authorities to launch corresponding measures and send security personnel to the areas of unrest in an attempt to quell the demonstrations.

Security presence has increased in Baghdad and the provinces of Basra, Dhi Qar, Maysan, Najaf, Muthanna, and Karbala. 

Political leaders, such as President Fuad Masum, have moved in to comment on the situation and have met with one another to discuss the situation. Furthermore, following the deaths of a number of protesters as a result of gunfire from security personnel, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi issued a statement ordering the security forces to cease from opening fire against those involved in the demonstrations.

The protests in southern Iraq erupted on 7 July in the city of Basra as people began to express their discontent at the lack of basic services, the political corruption and high levels of unemployment. Such shows of protests have customarily taken place during the hottest periods of the summer in Iraq when people are in most need of basic services such as electricity and water provision.

The protests took a particularly violent turn after they spread out from Basra to other provinces and the offices of some political parties were set alight. The increase in security measures led to a series of arrest warrants for activists and journalists, highlighting a crackdown on media coverage of the protests as an attempt to contain the unrest. There has been increased criticism in the media against the activists organising and urging on the protests in an attempt to defame the activists. Conspiracy theories surrounding the protest organisers have begun to spread as baseless accusations linking them to foreign parties have been thrown around to de-legitimise their cause.

In any case, poor governance, failure to form a government since the 12 May elections and widespread unemployment as a symptom of the failure to diversify the economy are all factors that have contributed to the frustration and discontent experienced by those on the streets.

Image: Al Hurra