Middle East

Iraqis protest over Baghdad heatwave power cuts

Protesters chant anti-Iraqi government slogans as they carry a large national flag during a protest against against corruption and the lack of government services in Tahrir Square in central Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, 31 July 2015 Image copyright AP
Image caption Protestors blame government corruption for the powercuts

Hundreds of Iraqi protesters have taken to the streets of Baghdad to protest against power shortages as the country experiences a heatwave.

They blamed government corruption for a lack of investment in infrastructure.

On Thursday, the government declared a four-day public holiday after temperatures broke 50C (122F), with appeals for people to save power.

Blackouts are common during the summer as Iraq's electricity grid struggles to deal with the extreme temperatures.

Analysts say that the country's grid was severely damaged by US bombing during the 2003 invasion. The infrastructure has also been repeatedly targeted by insurgents.

In some areas of the country it is common to have only a few hours of electricity each day.

The government has admitted that at peak times during the summer it will only be able to provide half the country's required power.

On Wednesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered electricity to be cut at state institutions and the homes of all government officials.

However, the protestors on the streets of Baghdad remain angry.

"We are demonstrating against a failed government, a government that has disappointed the hopes of the people," protestor Nahida Ahmad told AFP.

Earlier this month a man was killed at a protest about shortages near the southern city of Basra.

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