Iraqi protesters close border crossing with Kuwait

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Security forces stand guard as Iraqi citizens gather to protest government due to lack of basic services and frequent power outages at the entrance of the Garp el-Qurna 2 Gate that is one of the largest oil production areas of the country, run by the Russian company in Iraq’s oil-rich Basra province on July 13, 2018.

By Ibrahim Saleh,

Baghdad: Iraqi protesters in the southern province of Basra shut down a border crossing with Kuwait on Saturday amid rising anger over unemployment and lack of basic services in southern Iraq.

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“Hundreds of demonstrators forced the closure of the Safwan border crossing with Kuwait,” Police Captain Ali Kadhim told Anadolu Agency.

He said hundreds of demonstrators also gathered at the Majnoon oilfield in eastern Basra, demanding job opportunities for local residents.

Tension has been building on in Basra over rising unemployment and repeated power outages, with protests spreading to several other provinces, including the capital Baghdad.

Last week, a demonstrator was killed by security forces during a protest against deteriorating services in Basra.

Roughly 80 percent of Iraq’s overall crude oil exports originate from oilfields in Basra province.

For years, Basra residents have complained that foreign nationals, rather than locals, were being employed by the domestic energy sector.

They also complain of frequent power outages amid summer temperatures that often reach as high as 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit).

—AA

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