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Iraq PM heads to oil-rich Basra after violent protests

AFP  |  Basra (Iraq) 

Iraqi went to today hoping to restore calm in the southern city, which has been gripped by protests over unemployment, his office said.

flew straight into the city from where he attended a NATO summit to discuss the Islamic State group and immediately held talks with officials, a statement said.

Demonstrations have been ongoing over the past several days, with protesters in some cases setting tyres ablaze to block roads and trying to storm government installations.

The protests erupted on Sunday and security forces opened fire killing a protester, sparking further anger.

As well as unemployment, protesters are frustrated by rising living costs and a lack of in the city, the capital of province.

There were further protests on Friday morning and calls for a demonstration in the afternoon in front of the local provincial headquarters.

Yesterday said protesters tried to break into an in the West Qurna of province.

In a statement released by his office, Luaibi said the demonstrators failed to enter the area but had set fire to a gate and a security post.

Officially, 10.8 per cent of Iraqis are jobless, while youth unemployment is twice as high in a country where 60 per cent of the population are aged under 24.

has vowed to rebuild the economy, ravaged by years of conflict, but frustrations have been growing especially in the

is the second biggest of crude in the OPEC oil cartel, with 153 billion barrels of proven reserves.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, July 13 2018. 15:10 IST