An Iraqi protestor in Basra, Iraq. Photo: Haidar Mohammed Ali/AFP/Getty Images

Protests that began in Basra over a lack of basic services and job opportunities have spread to several cities in Iraq and left at least eight dead and dozens injured, CNN reports.

The big picture: Saad Jawad of London School of Economics told Al Jazeera that unless people see "concrete improvements in their lives that satisfy their demands — improvements in electricity, employment, services and actions against corrupt officials — they won't stand down."

Why they're protesting
  • Basra is the "oil hub and Shia heartland" of Iraq, per the Independent, and holds 70% of Iraq's oil reserves, yet it suffers from crumbling infrastructure, unemployment and poverty.
  • The region "has long been neglected" by the government, starting with dictator Saddam Hussein, per Reuters.
  • Demonstrators are also fed up with political parties; one protestor, Abdulrahman Mohammed, told the Washington Post: "We've had enough of these parties who put Iranian interests ahead of us and treat the people like wood to burn when they need money."
Where things stand
  • In addition to the eight killed, dozens have been injured and hundreds arrested, per Al Jazeera. Police officers and security forces are among those injured.
  • Protestors have targeted "government buildings, branches of political parties and powerful Shiite militias and stormed the international airport in the holy city of Najaf," Reuters reports.
  • The government cut off internet access, the Washington Post reports, in efforts to "contain further violence."
What they're saying
  • Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced a financial investment for the region worth $3 billion, Al Jazeera reports, pledging spending on infrastructure like schools and housing, as well as other services.
  • Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the country's top Shiite cleric, sided with the demonstrators, saying there is an "extreme lack of public services," NBC reports.
  • A woman who lost her son in the protests, Um Faten, told CNN: "We are fed up with the situation — our sons had no other solution but to go out and protest. I want my children to live a normal life, but it seems we are losing hope that things will get better here."
  • Protestor Murtadha Rahman, told Reuters: "I live in a place which is rich with oil that brings billions of dollars while I work in collecting garbage to desperately feed my two kids. I want a simple job, that's my only demand...I won't go even if you kill me."

Go deeper

Report: Goldman to settle DOJ probe into Malaysia's 1MDB for over $2B

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Goldman Sachs has agreed with the Department of Justice to pay over $2 billion for the bank's role in Malaysia's multi-billion dollar scandal at state fund 1MDB, Bloomberg first reported.

Why it matters: The settlement, expected to be announced within days, would allow Goldman Sachs to avoid a criminal conviction in the U.S. over the bribery and money laundering scandal that saw three of its former bankers banned for life from the banking industry by the Federal Reserve Board.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Americans feel Trump's sickness makes him harder to trustFlorida breaks record for in-person early voting — McConnell urges White House not to strike stimulus deal before election — Republican senators defend Fauci as Trump escalates attacks.
  2. Health: The next wave is gaining steam.
  3. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots — University of Michigan students ordered to shelter-in-place.
  4. World: Ireland moving back into lockdown — Argentina becomes 5th country to report 1 million infections.

Trump threatens to post "60 Minutes" interview early after reportedly walking out

Trump speaks to reporters aboard Air Force One, Oct. 19. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Tuesday that he was considering posting his interview with CBS' "60 Minutes" prior to airtime in order to show "what a FAKE and BIASED interview" it was, following reports that he abruptly ended the interview after 45 minutes of taping.

Why it matters: Trump has escalated his war on the media in the final stretch of his re-election campaign, calling a Reuters reporter a "criminal" this week for not reporting on corruption allegations about Hunter Biden and disparaging CNN as "dumb b*stards" for the network's ongoing coronavirus coverage.