Four killed as security forces use live rounds on Iraqi protesters

BASRA: At least four Iraqi protesters were killed on Tuesday when security forces opened fire and set off tear gas to disperse demonstrators outside Um Qasr Port in Iraq’s oil-rich southern province of Basra, witnesses said.
The witnesses said 100 other protesters were wounded in the clashes, adding that the forces withdrew as demonstrators insisted on continuing camping at the site, where they have been disrupting shipments to and from the port.
The sit-in near Um Qasr Port has been ongoing since Thursday, and is part of mass protests that have gripped Iraq in recent weeks. Street demonstrations have come in two waves since early October. Demonstrators have decried corruption, a lack of jobs and poor access to electricity and clean water in the country.
The protesters have also demanded the resignation of the government, the dissolution of parliament and an overhaul of the political system that has been in place since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
More than 260 people, mostly demonstrators, were killed and 11,000 others injured in the turmoil last month.
Several countries and foreign rights groups have criticised the deadly crackdown.
Internet access was limited on Tuesday across most of Iraq, accordingto NetBlocks, a group that tracks worldwide internet access.
The group said the internet had been completely cut at midnight, butwas partially restored as of 9 am on Tuesday. National connectivity is currently at 19 per cent of ordinary levels. — dpa