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Fierce Clashes in Iraq’s South Despite Scorching Heat

Monday, 20 July 2020 23:12
Iraqi demonstrators are seen as they clash with Iraqi security forces during ongoing anti-government protests, in Nasiriyah, Iraq. File photo: Reuters Iraqi demonstrators are seen as they clash with Iraqi security forces during ongoing anti-government protests, in Nasiriyah, Iraq. File photo: Reuters

Dozens demonstrated in front of Dhi Qar Oil Company and blocked three of its gates with burning tires. They also demonstrated outside the Diwan of the governorate.

Protesters in the Shyoukh market district and other areas in the governorate forced officials to shut public institutions, and called for the removal of the governor.

Thousands of contract-employees in the Southwest Networks Directorate demanded authorities pay their overdue salaries. They also called for changing their contracts to improve their monthly wages.

The governor of Dhi Qar, Nazim al-Waeli, met with the protesters and vowed to take a series of measures to improve services, noting that his administration will continue to dismiss corrupt officials.

Waeli asserted that any official against whom there is evidence of corruption, will never be allowed to return to his position and will be referred to the competent authorities for accountability. He hoped to meet the demands of the peaceful protests and improve services.

Official documents seen by activists showed that Waeli approved the resignation of about 20 officials.

Activist Raad al-Ghazzi told Asharq al-Awsat that some parties stand behind the protests, which serve their interests and not that of locals or the city.

A number of directors of the health, education and municipalities departments last month submitted their resignations under the pressure of popular demands.

Member of the Youth of Change coalition Abbas al-Saadawi believes that protests are essential to force corrupt individuals to resign.

Saadawi told Asharq Al-Awsat that local officials of Nasiriyah and all regions of Dhi Qar are indifferent to the suffering of the people. He indicated that even though the governorate has the largest power plant in the country, many households do not have electricity, which led protesters to call for the resignation of the plant's director.

He added that parties and people with influence insist on placing their loyalists in government positions without taking competency into consideration, which pushes people to protest.

Dhi Qar governorate is one of the cradles of Iraqi protests that erupted in October 2019.

Source: Asharq Al-Awsat