Iraqi police shoot tear gas, water cannons at protesters

Police fired tear gas and a water cannons at protesters seeking better services and employment opportunities, police and activists said in Basra.

Iraqis carry banners and chant slogans during a demonstration at Tahrir square in central Baghdad, Iraq, on Friday. Two days laters, protesters tried to storm the main provincial government building in Basra. Photo by Ahmed Jalil/EPA
Iraqis carry banners and chant slogans during a demonstration at Tahrir square in central Baghdad, Iraq, on Friday. Two days laters, protesters tried to storm the main provincial government building in Basra. Photo by Ahmed Jalil/EPA

As hundreds of protesters tried to storm the main provincial government building, four people were wounded Sunday, according to Al Arabiya English.

“Some of the protesters tried to storm the building. We prevented them by using water cannons and tear gas,” a police official said.

It was seventh day of unrest in southern cities regarding poor services.

Activist Laith Hussein said told Al Jazeera there were “thousands” of protesters and they forced the closure of the vital Umm Qasr port on the Gulf and roads leading to major oil fields to the north and west of Basra.

Iraqi politicians want to form a government after afraud-filled parliamentary election on May 12.

Outgoing Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has announced the government would release funds to Basra for water, electricity and health services in the summer heat.

On Saturday, the government cut off Internet access across much of Iraq.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who is Iraq’s top Shiite cleric, backs the protesters, saying they faced an “extreme lack of public services.”

By Allen Cone