By Ibrahim Saleh
Iraqi security forces on Thursday forcibly dispersed demonstrators who attempted to storm an oilfield in the southern province of Basra.
A Basra police colonel told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity that demonstrators -- angry over poor public services and a lack of job opportunities -- had attempted to storm Basra’s West Qurna 2 oilfield.
Run by Russian energy giant Lukoil, West Qurna 2 -- one of Iraq’s largest oilfields -- currently produces roughly 400,000 barrels of crude oil per day.
According to the police officer, four protesters were injured when security forces opened fire on the crowd, while two security personnel were hurt by rock-throwing demonstrators.
Tension has steadily mounted in Basra since a demonstrator was killed Sunday while taking part in a protest against high unemployment and frequent power outages.
Roughly 80 percent of Iraq’s crude oil exports originate from oilfields in Basra province.
Many Basra residents also complain that foreign nationals, rather than locals, are being employed by the local energy sector.
They also complain of frequent power outages amid high summer temperatures that often reach 50 degrees Celsius.