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Iraq's Dhi Qar Governor Resigns Following Protests

Iraq's Dhi Qar Governor Resigns Following Protests

Friday, 24 December, 2021 - 08:45
Iraqi protesters during a sit-in in Dhi Qar, Iraq (AFP/Getty Images)

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Kadhimi approved the resignation of Dhi Qar Governor Ahmed al-Khafaji.

Khafaji resigned from his position amid a political and popular crisis in the governorate, where he has been criticized for his "mismanagement."

Protests erupted in al-Nasiriyah city in Dhi Qar on Wednesday. Security forces shot three protesters, a medical source told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Dozens are protesting in the governorate, demanding better living and service conditions, and pushing for dropping the lawsuits against them related to their participation in the October 2019 demonstrations.

Khafaji's office stated in a press statement: "The governor submitted his resignation from the position to Prime Minister Mustafa Kadhimi, in the interest of the public interest, and to provide security and stability and preserve the interests of the citizens of this province."

The statement, carried by Iraqi National Agency (INA), indicated that the governor offered his sincere apologies to all the people of Dhi Qar for any shortcomings.

On Wednesday, the Security Media Cell of the Prime Minister's Office issued a statement indicating that the prime minister followed up with "great interest" the developments in Dhi Qar, including the injury of three protesters in Nasiriyah.

Kadhimi ordered authorities to take the necessary legal measures and open an urgent investigation into the incident.

The southern Iraqi governorates, especially Dhi Qar, Diwaniyah, and Najaf, have witnessed sporadic demonstrations during the past weeks, with dozens participating, demanding better job opportunities and living conditions.

Nasiriyah, located 350 km south of Baghdad, was the main stronghold of the protest movement in October 2019. It suffers from severe poverty, deteriorating infrastructure, and unemployment among the youth.

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