Protesting refinery workers block fuel supplies in southern Iraq

Upset about provisions in Iraq's draft budget law, refinery employees are shutting down tanker traffic and threatening a crippling fuel shortage.
South Refineries Companies workers demonstrate in Basra on June 6, 2023. (ALI AL-AQILY/Iraq Oil Report)

BASRA - A wave of protests this week by oil refinery workers in southern Iraq intensified on Thursday as they blocked tankers from loading and forced more than 100 filling stations to shut down due to lack of fuel.

Prolonged fuel supply disruptions could paralyze the economy of Basra province, the country’s main oil production and export hub, and lead to wider shortages across Iraq.

"Despite the injuries we have suffered at the hands of the riot police, and despite the negotiations with the governor of Basra, we are still holding our sit-in," said Emad Sadoun, one of the protest coordinators. "We are still blocking the roads to refineries, distribution companies, and pipeline companies."

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