Security forces reopen entrance to key Iraqi port

Security forces reopen entrance to key Iraqi port
  • Clock-gray 19:51
  • calendar-gray 22 November 2019

Security forces reopened the entrance to Iraq’s main Gulf port on Friday after forcibly dispersing protesters who had been blocking it, as the country’s top cleric warned nothing but speedy electoral reforms would resolve unrest, APA reports citing Reuters.

Employees were able to enter the Umm Qasr commodities port near Basra for the first time since it was blocked on Monday, port sources told Reuters, but normal operations had not yet resumed, the sources said.

At least 326 people have been killed since the start of mass unrest in Baghdad and southern Iraq in early October, the largest demonstrations since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Protesters are demanding the overthrow of a political class seen as corrupt and serving foreign powers while many Iraqis languish in poverty without jobs, healthcare or education.

Iraq’s top Shi’ite Muslim cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, called on Friday for politicians to hurry up in reforming electoral laws because the changes would be the only way to resolve weeks of deadly unrest.

“We affirm the importance of speeding up the passing of the electoral law and the electoral commission law because this represents the country moving past the big crisis,” his representative said during a sermon in the holy city of Kerbala.

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