Basra demonstrators wear yellow vests, echoing Paris protests
Iraqi protesters donned high visibility jackets in Basra on Tuesday during demonstrations calling for improved public services, echoing the adoption of yellow vests by protesters in France.
The "gilet jaune" (yellow vest) movement sprang up in late October in France against increases in fuel taxes announced as part of President Emmanuel Macron's efforts to pursue clean energy policies.
While the protests began over fuel taxes, they have snowballed into a wider movement against Macron, largely among people in small-town and rural France.
Protesters in Basra clashed with Iraqi security forces on Tuesday as they attempted to raid the governor's office, Iraqi media reported, with a number of journalists and cameramen arrested.
Riot police were deployed to quell the demonstration.
In unverified footage on social media, protesters wearing yellow vests can be seen throwing objects and chanting outside of Basra's council building.
Another video clip circulated on Tuesday shows Basra governor Asaad al-Eidani assaulting demonstrators wearing high-visibility vests as he leaves his car.
One of Eidani’s security personnel can also be seen pursuing the protesters, who had surrounded the governor's car.
Basra has been at the centre of protests that broke out in the southern province in July before spreading to other parts of the country, as demonstrators railed against poor services and condemned corruption among government officials.
A water crisis in oil-rich Basra province has put 90,000 people in hospital since mid-August, according to the provincial council for human rights.
Protesters have set fire to several government buildings as well as headquarters of political parties and militias backed by Iran, which saw its consulate in Basra burnt to the ground.