Iraqis protest against power outages amid scorching heatwave

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AFP PHOTO / ABD DOUMANY / AFP / ABD DOUMANY

Crowds of angry Iraqis on Saturday took to the streets, protesting against poor electricity provision in the country, the latest in a series of demonstrations against power cuts amid a scorching summer heatwave, witnesses said.

Temperatures have soared to over 50 degrees Celsius in several parts of Iraq in recent days.

On Friday, massive power outages hit several areas of Iraq, including the capital Baghdad.

The outages were attributed to a technical problem and terrorist attacks on electricity transmission towers.

On Saturday, dozens of protesters rallied in the southern city of Nasiriyah, decrying frequent power cuts, witnesses said.

The protesters called on the government to provide a radical solution to the electricity crunch and bring negligent officials to justice, they added.

Similar protests took place on Saturday in the province of Dyala, around 57 kilometres north east of Baghdad.

On Friday, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi ordered the formation of an emergency committee to tackle the electricity crisis.

Iraq has grappled with an inefficient electricity system, blamed on corruption and shortages of fuel needed to operate power stations, since the 2003 US-led invasion of the country.

Earlier this week, Iraq’s Electricity Minister Majed Hantoush resigned under public pressure due to the electricity shortage.

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