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Police use live rounds to disperse protest in Iraq's Basra for second week

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By Aref Mohammed

BASRA, Iraq (Reuters) – Iraqi security forces used live bullets and teargas on Friday to disperse protesters who were trying to storm a local government building in the southern city of Basra.

It was the second week in a row that riot police used force to quell the demonstrators.

About 250 people gathered outside the temporary headquarters of the provincial council throughout the afternoon to protest against corruption and demand jobs and better public services.

Protesters threw rocks and empty water bottles at riot police.

By nightfall, some of the protesters broke through the main gate of the building’s outer perimeter using a large cylinder, and attempted to storm the building.

No injuries were reported.

Iraq’s second city has been rocked by demonstrations in which government offices, including the main provincial council building, have been ransacked and set alight by protesters angry about corruption.

Unrest first erupted in July over poor government services but intensified in September before dwindling in recent months.

Residents in Basra say they have been driven onto the streets by corruption and misrule that have allowed infrastructure to collapse, leaving no power or safe drinking water.

(Reporting by Aref Mmohammed, Writing by Raya Jalabi, Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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