Police disperse protesters at entrance to Iraq’s Nahr Bin Omar oilfield

About 150 protesters gathered at the main entrance to Iraq’s giant Nahr Bin Omar oilfield in the southern oil hub of Basra. (File/AFP)
Updated 02 September 2018

Police disperse protesters at entrance to Iraq’s Nahr Bin Omar oilfield

  • About 150 protesters gathered at the main entrance to Iraq’s giant Nahr Bin Omar oilfield in the southern oil hub of Basra
  • Production from Nahran Bin Omar now stands at around 44,000 barrels per day

BASRA: Police used tear gas to disperse around 150 protesters at the main entrance to Iraq’s giant Nahr Bin Omar oilfield on Sunday, police sources said, amid growing unrest in southern cities over poor public services and corruption.
Officials at the field in the southern oil hub of Basra said operations were running normally.
Production from Nahr Bin Omar, which is operated by the state-run Basra Oil Co., now stands at around 44,000 barrels per day, oilfield officials said.
On Friday, hundreds of Iraqi protesters stoned and tried to break into the provincial government headquarters in the southern oil hub of Basra demanding better public services and an end to pervasive corruption. Around 3,000 people gathered there again on Sunday and set fire to tires outside.
Protesters threatened to break into the field if the government did not respond to their demands to improve basic services and address their complaints over Basra’s drinking water, which residents say is undrinkable due to high salt levels.
“We will not allow the oilfield to operate unless we get clean water. No services, no jobs and now no clean water. We are fed up,” said Hassan Ali, a protest organizer.
Iraqi political blocs are attempting to form a coalition government after a May 12 parliamentary election tainted by allegations of fraud.
Oil exports from Basra account for more than 95 percent of OPEC producer Iraq’s state revenues. Any potential disruptions to production could severely impact Iraq’s limping economy.
Police also dispersed protesters who tried to prevent trucks moving on a main road to the east of Basra which leads to a border crossing with Iran, customs and police officials said.


Lebanese celebrities join Beirut protests as anger rises over tax reforms

Updated 19 October 2019

Lebanese celebrities join Beirut protests as anger rises over tax reforms

  • A video emerged on social media showing actress Nadine Al-Rassi preparing to set fire to a car tire in downtown Beirut
  • In a series of tweets, Lebanese recording artist Elissa, who is abroad, supported the protesters’ demands

BEIRUT: Lebanese celebrities joined thousands of protesters on the streets of Beirut on Saturday to voice their anger at the country’s ruling elite.
Singers, actors and playwrights were among a host of high-profile artists who backed demands for action over government corruption and to counter Lebanon’s spiralling economic crisis.
Beirut has been shrouded in smoke for three days following widespread protests and rioting over government tax plans.
A video emerged on social media showing actress Nadine Al-Rassi preparing to set fire to a car tire in downtown Beirut and crying inconsolably about her financial state.
The actress, wearing jeans and her face blackened, told protesters: “I am Nadine Al-Rassi. I was hungry for seven days. I have debts. Banque du Liban (Lebanon’s central bank) seized my house and I am unable to rent a home. Corrupt people should be held responsible.”


In a series of tweets, Lebanese recording artist Elissa, who is abroad, supported the protesters’ demands, saying: “This is the first time I wish I were in Lebanon. My heart is with you.”
In another tweet, the high-profile singer, one of the Middle East’s best-selling performers, said: “I proudly follow the news of Beirut and its citizens ... who are demanding a decent life. It is time for people to get back their dignity.”
Meanwhile, singer and composer Ragheb Alama expressed his dismay at a Council of Ministers plan to impose a daily fee on WhatsApp calls.
“The people’s misfortunes are not funny. Why don’t you tax the polluted air people breathe? It is a great idea that brings money to your fathers’ treasury, too,” he wrote.
Alama accused the Parliament of responsibility for the country’s dire economy: “Why do deputies receive money, privileges and overheads, and what have they done? They covered up for looting and stealing for decades. They are responsible for destroying the economy and the country.”
Nancy Ajram, one of the Arab world’s most popular singers, wrote on Twitter: “My heart goes out to my country every moment and with every heartbeat. We are a people who deserves to live and it is our right to live with dignity. May God protect Lebanon.”
Singer and actress Haifa Wehbe tweeted: “There is nothing better than the Lebanese people when they stand in unity and under one slogan, without any political affiliation. We are all for our country.”
Comedian and prime-time TV host Hisham Haddad was among celebrities who joined protesters at Riad El-Solh Square, near the Prime Minister’s office, site of the biggest centralized demonstrations.
Actress Maguy Bou Ghosn, singer Moeen Shreif, actors Abdo Chahine, Badih Abou Chakra and Junaid Zeineldine, playwright Ziad Itani and musician Ziyad Sahhab also joined the protests.
Actor Wissam Hanna called on Twitter for protesters to close the Beirut Airport road to stop corrupt officials fleeing the country.
“I am all for closing down the airport road to stop thieves from fleeing. I am all for recovering stolen funds. Lebanon rises, revolts and it is time to hold them accountable,” he wrote.
Actress Gretta Aoun said: “We have to take to the streets. They must know the extent of our pain.”