Basra protests Baghdad’s power failures

Basra leaders accused the Electricity Ministry of incompetence after a two-day blackout incited angry residents to protest, amidst 131-degree heat.
Protesters in Basra city blocked roads and burned tires on the night of July 23, 2012, to protest a two-day power blackout. (ALI ABU IRAQ/Iraq Oil Report)

BASRA - Basra leaders are firing sharp criticism at the central government, after blackouts that left some residents without power for two days sparked violent protests and arrests.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has taken pains to show his support for Basra – home to most of Iraq's oil production – in order to avert a movement by local leaders to assert autonomy from Baghdad. But, as electricity demand has soared along with summer temperatures, the infrastructure has not been able to handle the strain.

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