Iraqi officials lift curfew in Basra

Iraqi officials lift curfew in Basra

Agency News

BASRA, Iraq, Sept 8: Iraqi officials in Basra lifted a curfew on Saturday night that had been in place since 4 p.m. (1300 GMT), the military said. The streets of Basra were calm on Saturday, after days of violent protests rocked Iraq's southern oil hub.

Organisers of the demonstrations said they would pause on Saturday, but there was still a heavy security force presence in the city of more than 2 million people.

Iraq’s second-biggest city had been rocked by five days of deadly demonstrations, in which government buildings were ransacked and set alight by protesters angry over perceived political corruption. On Friday, protesters stormed the Iranian consulate and set a fire inside.

The US State Department criticized the attack, without explicitly mentioning Iran. "The United States condemns violence against diplomats, including that which occurred today in Basrah," it said in a statement.

More than 10 protesters died in the clashes. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had ordered an investigation into the violence. The unrest in the south came amid a political crisis in Baghdad, adding to overall tensions in the country. (UNI-Reuters)