Hundreds take to the streets of the southern oil-city to protest mandatory power-cuts that make cooling off even harder in the already insufferable heat. Gavino Garay reports.
Not even the searing heat kept protesters from coming out. Residents in Iraq's southeastern city of Basra say they're tired of chronic, government-imposed power cuts and salty tap water. And a heat wave pushing temperatures to 122 degrees Fahrenheit, or past 50 degrees Celsius, is just making things worse, they say. Protesters blame the lack of services on government corruption, waving banners critical of political blocs. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) PROTESTER, ALI AL LAMI, SAYING: "Our demands are very simple: first of all, to be fair with Basra in the distribution of electricity and water. All people from Basra are buying water. Be fair towards Basra with jobs. All young people in Basra are left without jobs but people from other provinces come here to work here." The U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 badly damaged the country's infrastructure, including its national power grid. Most homes and businesses only receive a few hours of power a day, which increases the price of doing business and leaves many depending on private generators. Hundreds also demonstrated on Friday in the capital Baghdad for the same reasons. Suggesting that as temperature rise, so too do tempers in the crippling heat.