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Tension grips Iraq's Basra after protester killed

Even in oil-rich Basra, youth unemployment is sky-high [Getty]

Date of publication: 11 July, 2018

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Basra's residents continued to take to the streets after a protester was shot dead by police on Sunday, demanding the killer faces justice and the city's security chief resigns.

Dozens of people demonstrated in the southern Iraqi port city of Basra on Tuesday, two days after security forces opened fire killing one person during a protest against unemployment.

Three other people were wounded in the incident, Karim Shuak, a member of Basra's provincial council, told AFP.

He said the demonstrators were "youths demanding solutions to the problem of unemployment that has deteriorated because of the inaction of the federal government".

Hussam Abulhil, a head of the Bani Mansour tribe to which the slain 30-year-old protester belonged, named unofficially as Saad Yaqoub al-Mansouri, said demonstrators wanted his killer to face justice and the dismissal of Basra's security operations chief.

Read more: Basra: The epicentre of Iraq's drug problem

The protests, like Tuesday's in front of the local government offices, will carry on, he said, while the interior ministry, for its part, said an investigation would be opened.

Officially, youth unemployment in Iraq - where the under-24s represent six out of 10 of the population - is running at 18 percent, and even higher among college graduates.

Basra's residents have been frequently taking to the streets to demand job opportunities, as well as access to water and electricity over the past months, as discontent rises along with the sweltering summer temperatures which can reach 50 degrees celsius. Without a steady supply of drinking water and with much agriculture put on hold, conditions are severe.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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