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Iraqi Energy Protests Grow


Iraqi Energy Protests Grow
Officials call for calm and patience as citizens’ fury at outages boils over, Khalid Waleed writes for IWPR.
By Khalid Waleed for Institute for War and Peace Reporting(IWPR)

The interim Iraqi government is reeling from riots and demonstrations that have erupted across the country to protest severe electricity shortages.

Anger has been growing for weeks over the continued power cuts and rising fuel prices - resulting from the demand for generators - and the stalled efforts to form a new government.

At least two demonstrators were killed June 19 in the southern city of Basra when security forces opened fire on a mob enraged after electricity was reduced to less than two hours per day.

Seventeen police were wounded in Nasiriyah on June 22 when hundreds of protesters clashed with riot troops outside provincial administrative offices. Protests have become an almost daily occurrence in some poor neighborhoods of Baghdad.

The crisis saw its first political casualty on June 23 when the embattled electricity minister, Karim Waheed, handed in his resignation to caretaker prime minister Nuri al-Maliki, whose own bid for a second term has now been cast in doubt. Read more.

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