General strike paralyzes protest-hit Iraq

BAGHDAD 

Life has come to a standstill in eastern and southern Iraq on Tuesday as protesters blocked several roads as part of a general strike called by activists.

“Demonstrators began to block main roads and bridges in central Basra,” activist Rakan al-Sudani told Anadolu Agency.

He said roads leading to the ports of Umm Qasr and Khor al-Zubair, fertilizer lab and power generation station have also been sealed off.

Amjad Kadhim, a protester in the southern province of Dhi Qar, confirmed that several roads have been blocked by protesters.

“Traffic in the province has been brought to a standstill,” he said.

“The general strike includes the disruption of work in all government institutions, except the bodies that provide services to citizens,” he said.

The southern city of Najaf also saw several roads blocked by demonstrators.

Protesters also erected encampments in Babel, Diwaniyah, Karbala, Muthanna, and Maysan provinces as part of the general strike.

Iraq has been rocked by mass protests since early October against poor living conditions and corruption. The demands later spiraled into calls for dissolving Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi’s government.

According to Iraq’s High Commission for Human Rights, at least 346 Iraqis have been killed and around 15,000 have been injured since the protests began on Oct. 1.

*Bassel Barakat contributed to this report from Ankara
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