Abadi makes 7 decisions to meet protesters’ demands

<p style="text-align: left;">Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi has made seven decisions in response to the demands of anti-government protesters rallying in the south of the country since last week, Alsumaria broadcaster reported citing a source on Sunday.

"After his communication with local residents and tribes, and due to the fact that he heeds their demands and follows [activities of] ministerial committees, seven decisions were made," the source familiar with the matter said.

According to the source these decisions concern the immediate allocation of 3.5 trillion Iraqi dinars (around $2.5 billion) for water desalination, addressing electric power outages, and provision of medical services to the residents of the Basra province, which has become the epicenter of the demonstrations.

The government would also boost investment in the construction of residential buildings and schools and the creation of jobs. The authorities also plan to raise the quotas for water provision in the provinces of Basra, Dhi Qar, Muthanna and Al Diwaniyah, the source pointed out.

Moreover, the government will dismiss the management boards of Al Najaf International Airport that was stormed by the protesters, which led to the suspension of its operation, on Saturday, according to the source.

Protests erupted last week in the city of Basra and spread across the south of the country. The demonstrators are protesting against high unemployment rates and disruptions in public services provision. The situation escalated last Sunday after the death of one of the protesters.

Iraq's top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani has expressed solidarity with the protesters.

The government, in its turn, set up a special committee working to meet the demands of the demonstrators.

Earlier on Saturday, the Sky News Arabia broadcaster reported that the Iraqi Interior Ministry had announced a nationwide state of security alert and boosted security at government sites over the unrest during the ongoing protests.

The Kurdish Rudaw broadcaster reported that in Najaf, the protesters had put on fire the headquarters of Al Fadhila party and the house of chairman of the Najaf airport board, as well as stormed the building of the provincial council in Karbala.

The curfew was declared Saturday in the provinces of Najaf, Karbala, Maysan and Basra, according to Al Arabiya. The outlet also reported about power outages across Najaf. Al Sumaria broadcaster reported earlier on Saturday that the authorities had also declared a curfew in the city.

According to Iraqi media, citing official statistics, the unemployment rate in Iraq currently stands at 10.8 percent. Notably, the unemployment rate among the Iraqi youth, which forms over 50 percent of the population, is double as high.

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