Monday, June 21, 2010

Protests in Nasiriyah

Like millions of other Muslims, Sheikh Haider Ali Hassan is preparing to go one without food and water during daylight hours during the month of Ramadan.
However, he can no longer count on his meager air conditioning for respite from the 122 degree Fahrenheit temperatures, owing to the local government rationing electricity that has hit hard in the southern Iraqi city of Basra.

The above is from Stephen Jones' "Electricity Shortages Frays Tempers in Southern Iraq" (Epoch Times). Saturday, demonstrations took place in Basra about the lack of electricity and the police fired (into the crowds?) and at least one person was killed. Michael Jansen (Irish Times) reported, "On Saturday one man was shot dead by police at a demonstration protesting the lack of electricity, clean water and services in the southern city of Basra, where most of Iraq's oil is exported. During the funeral of the victim, Haidar Salman, a 26-year-old father of three, protesters demanded the resignation of prime minister Nuri al-Maliki and his caretaker administration." The lack of electricity in a country rich in oil and the lack of it seven years after the start of the illegal war is a good reason to be outraged and today the protests were in Nasiriyah.

protests in nasiriyah

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The protest photos are from and they note that "the protesters gathered in different areas of the city of Nasiriyah, and then moved to the main government building of the province of Dhi Qar." They state -- I'm working through multiple pages at the website, so scroll through them if you read the langague -- that riots broke out and, along with police, the Iraq military arrived in a Hummer.

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Ambulances arrived on the scene (I'm on another page) and medical sources confirm that several were wounded and transferred to the hospital. A comment left on that page by "I'm Naserya" expresses the sentiment that the people are demanding that the provincial council and governor be dissolved: "And I repeat, I demand nothing less than the dissolution of the provincial council and governor because of their abject failure in the province." In another story, the wounded are numbered at 13 and eventually reach the number 17. That's the number of wounded who were taken in ambulances. Tear gas was sprayed and authorities, after the demonstration was broken up, arrested a police officer. That arrest is only mentioned once and the province's "Director General of Police," Maj Gen Saeed, is quoted elsewhere claiming that the police "should be regarded by the Iraqi man as the Holy Grail" ("man" is the word used -- don't blame me for the fact that the US put a bunch of sexist thugs in charge of what was an advanced country).

Reuters notes that a water cannon was used. Here's the photo of that.

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In a report on Saturday's demonstrations against the lack of regular electricity in Basra, Anthony Shadid (New York Times) notes:

Voters went to the polls on March 7 after a campaign dominated by promises of more jobs, electricity, housing and better drinking water. None of those pledges has been fulfilled as deadlocked negotiations over a governing coalition threaten to drag into the fall.

In other violence today, Reuters notes a Baiji motorcycle bombing injured six people, a Shirqat suicide bomber took his/her own life and claimed the lives of 8 other people (with ten more wounded), 1 person shot dead in Mosul and, dropping back to last night, a Mosul roadside bombing which left three police officers injured.

In London, Chris Ames (Iraq Inquiry) notes the Iraq Inquiry, chaired by John Chilcot, met with US Gen David Petraeus.

Meanwhile in the US, David Bacon offers photos of a San Francisco demonstration "Afternoon Unloading of Israeli Ship at Oakland Port Canceled after Morning Protest" (Berkeley Daily Planet):

"Hundreds of demonstrators from throughout the San Francisco Bay Area set up early morning picketlines in front of four gates into the SSA terminal in the Port of Oakland, as a ship carrying Israeli cargo was preparing to dock. Demonstrators were protesting the Israeli attack on the flotilla that sought to break the blockade of Gaza, in which Israeli troops killed nine people. In response to the picketline, members of Local 10 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union decided not to go into the terminal and unload the cargo. In the afternoon, with picketlines again in front of the gate, the stevedoring company decided not to ask for a crew of longshosre workers to unload the ship, in the expectation that the crew would again not enter the terminal."

David Bacon's latest book is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press) which won the CLR James Award. Bacon can be heard on KPFA's The Morning Show (over the airwaves in the Bay Area, streaming online) each Wednesday morning (begins airing at 7:00 am PST).

Susan reminds that Kat's review of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Mojo went up yesterday morning and Kat's review of Sarah McLachlan's Laws of Illusion went up late last night. She also asked if we could note that Third's "Roundtable: Between A Heart And A Rock Place" of the new book Between A Heart And A Rock Place, $25.99 from HarperCollins, written by Pat Benatar with Patsi Bale Cox. Also Helen asks if we can put hard numbers in "Only 30% of Diane Rehm's guests are women (Ava and C.I.)"? I thought we had. We didn't. Sorry. We've got a percentage and the total number of guests but did not provide the breakdown (female: 70 guests; male: 162). That'll be added this morning, thanks for catching that, Helen.

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