Police: Protesters gather at entrance to Iraq's Zubair oilfield

July 17, 2018 10:59
1 minute read.
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BASRA, Iraq - Iraqi police used batons and rubber hoses on Tuesday to disperse about 250 protesters who gathered at the main entrance to the giant Zubair oilfield near Basra, police said, in growing unrest across southern cities over poor basic services.

Officials at the field, run by Italy's Eni, said production operations were running normally.Protesters have vented their anger at several major oilfields since the demonstrations began nine days ago.

Local officials say production has not been affected at any of the fields.

Iraq, the second-largest crude oil producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries after Saudi Arabia, produced around 4.5 million barrels per day (bpd) in June. Production at the Zubair field was 475,000 bpd, an Iraqi oil official said in May.

"We had orders not to use live fire but we also have orders not to allow anyone to disrupt operations at oilfields and we will take necessary measures to keep the protesters away from the fields," said a policeman at the scene.

Protesters have attacked provincial government buildings, local headquarters of political parties and powerful Shi'ite militias and stormed an airport in the holy city of Najaf.

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