Protests against poor basic service, corruption continue across Iraq

11:44, February 19, 2011      

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More than 1,000 Iraqis took to the streets across the country Friday to continue their protests against poor basic services and corruption, local sources told Xinhua.

About 300 intellectuals and university students staged a peaceful demonstration on Friday morning in Mutanabi Street in central Baghdad, calling for reform of the country's political system and elimination of administrative corruption, an Interior Ministry source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The protestors also demanded more job opportunities for the unemployed and better services, such as more power and clean water resources, he added.

Meanwhile, some protestors went to Tahrir Square in central Baghdad to emphasize the need for combatting corruption, the source said, adding the protestors held banners and chanted slogans, such as "no to administrative corruption," "no to unemployment," "no to bloodshed," "no to bribe" and "the people want reform of the system."

About 1,000 people also protested in the southern city of Basra, 550 km south of Baghdad, local police source told Xinhua.

The demonstration started from the center of Shatt al-Arab river, about 2 km east of the city, demanding better services, new job opportunities for the unemployed, adequate supply of food and punishment of corrupt officials. They also urged the provincial governor to resign.

Some young demonstrators blocked the bridge linking the city with the center of Shatt al-Arab for more than an hour, he added.

Since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, Iraq has long been faced with lacking of power plants and qualified water resources, which always provokes protests in summer with brutal heat waves.

Recently, several thousand of Iraqis held protests in several provinces across the country against unemployment, poor public services and a sharp rise in food prices. At least three people have been killed and dozens wounded in the past several days when security guards opened fire to stop protestors from appealing to violence.

Source: Xinhua
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