Iraqi security forces opened fire on angry protestors again after a day when 6 people had been killed, as the protests against poor government services entered third day in the southern oil-rich province of Basra. The protestors in anger blocked the entry to Umm Qasr port for commodities and also torched the primary government building of the province.
The security forces were using live ammunition and tear gas against hundreds of protestors. Government has called for increased presence of security personnel in the area even though a curfew has been imposed. People in the area are upset about the poor services of basic amenities due government neglect. There is widespread contamination of water which has given rise to many health problems and over 20000 people have taken to hospitals.
The death of six protestors has led to further resentment. Iraqi army has said that they were shot by some unidentified gunmen in a car. Commander Jamil al-Shammari had reported that the protests were not completely peaceful as army had seen a group throwing Molotov cocktails, and also attacking other citizens.
UN envoy to Iraq, Jan Kubis has urged all sides to maintain restraint and called for calm. He also asked to authorities to avoid use of indiscriminate force which is disproportionate against the demonstrators. He also urged the government to seriously determine the causes and people behind the violence while address the legitimate demands of clean water and electricity. Prime Minister Ahadi defended his position and said that he has passed clear orders that no real bullets to be used against the protestors. Government also vowed to plug the loopholes in the supply of clean water to Basra and address the concerns of the citizens.