Iraqi riot police used tear gas to disperse demonstrators against the poor public services and government corruption on Saturday in Basra, security sources were quoted saying.
In remarks, the sources said the crowds were walking from Abdul-Karim Qassim Square in central Basra toward the al-Ashar neighborhood market, demanding better living conditions and government services.
According to eyewitnesses, security forces fired tear gas against protesters, leaving some injured. A number of civilians were arrested.
In a statement, Basra Operations Command said it was maintaining the “safety and stability” of the city by stopping potential “saboteurs” from "derailing" the demonstrations.
It went on saying that the protest was illegal and that the government requires that protestors obtain a permit that is to be approved by the office of the provincial governor and security apparatus before they can take to the street.