Protesters in Basra continue to block entrance to Umm Qasr commodities port

Protesters in Iraq last week were continuing to block the entrance to Iraq’s Umm Qasr commodities port near Basra, port employees and local officials said. Demonstrations spread to the port on the night of September 5th, increasing concern at the unrest in southern Iraqi cities. Umm Qasr receives Iraqi imports of grain, vegetable oils and sugar shipments. It was not clear on Friday if the unrest would have a serious impact on the port’s operations.

Protesters set fire to the Iranian consulate in Basra. People are protesting against what they see as corruption and a lack of basic services. Crowds chanted against Iranian influence on Iraqi politics. Friday saw a fifth day of violent protests, with at least 10 people killed.

Anger in Basra has grown over the lack of jobs, electricity and safe drinking water. Recently, hundreds of people were taken to hospital after drinking contaminated water. Infrastructure was said to be on the verge of collapse, although the region is one that generates much of Iraq’s oil wealth.

Officials announced a curfew at about 21:00 local time Friday night.