Middle East

One dies as Iraqi police fire on Basra power protesters

Demonstration against pwer cut in Basra, Iraq, 19 June
Image caption Anger and temperatures are rising in Basra

Iraqi police have opened fire during a protest against power shortages in the south of the country, killing at least one demonstrator, officials say.

The violence flared up after protesters gathered near the provincial government building in Basra. They demanded the removal of the Iraqi electricity minister and Basra's governor.

Several people were injured.

There has been simmering unrest in Iraq since the general election in March produced no outright winner.

In Saturday's incident, demonstrators carried banners reading: "Return electricity to us" and "The people of Basra ask the authorities to provide services and electricity".

Some protesters pelted the government building with stones.

Security forces reportedly opened fire to disperse the crowd.

People in Basra say they are receiving just one hour of electricity for every four hours of power cut.

The BBC's Jim Muir, in Baghdad, says the violence is ominous ahead of the long hot summer, as public anger over the failure of basic services builds up.

Three months after the general election, a deal between parties to form a government and choose a prime minister has not been reached.