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Deadly protests in Basra prompt UN calls for calm in Iraq

The United Nations has called for calm in Iraq’s Basra in the wake of protests over poor public services that left six people killed on Tuesday.

 

The United Nations has called for calm in Iraq’s Basra in the wake of protests over poor public services that left six people killed on Tuesday.

The UN special representative for Iraq, Jan Kubis, on Wednesday urged “the authorities to avoid using disproportionate, lethal force against the demonstrators.”

Kubis, in his statement, also called on the authorities to “investigate and hold accountable those responsible for the outbreak of violence.”

The Iraqi authorities said in a news conference on Wednesday that security personnel were injured in Tuesday’s clashes.

“Thirty members of the security forces were wounded by grenades and incendiary objects being thrown,” said General Jamil al-Shammari, who is in charge of security operations in Basra.

Basra is an important hub for oil exports, which account for over 95 percent of Iraq’s government revenues. Long neglected, the city is one of the few cities in the Middle East without an effective water treatment system. State officials blame a public funding crisis caused by years of low oil prices.

The city has been hit by protests against poor public services since early July.

 

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