Iraq's embattled PM arrives in Basra after week-long protest

Iraq's embattled PM arrives in Basra after week-long protest
Protesters storm and burn the Basra Government building during a demonstration demanding better public services and jobs in Basra, 340 miles (550 km) southeast of Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. Angry protesters stormed the Iranian consulate in the southern city of Basra Friday, setting a fire inside as part of ongoing demonstrations that have turned deadly in the past few days, a security official and eyewitnesses said. (AP Photo/Nabil al-Jurani)

BASRA, Iraq (AP) — Iraq’s embattled prime minister Haider al-Abadi has arrived in the southern city of Basra, where week-long protests over poor public services and unemployment have left at least 15 people dead.

The schedule of al-Abadi’s Monday’s visit is still unclear.

Al-Abadi, who took office in Sept. 2004, a few months after the Islamic State onslaught in northern and western Iraq, is widely blamed for the use of excessive force against the protesters, and poor performance regarding public services.

Oil-rich Basra and other cities in Iraq’s southern Shiite heartland have been protesting since July over endemic corruption, soaring joblessness and poor public services. Protesters and security forces members have been killed in confrontations when protesters damaged and burned government offices and attacked security forces with stones and Molotov cocktails.