Protests spread, turn deadly in Iraq: At least 8 are dead, dozens hurt

Iraqi security forces form a human barrier as protesters demonstrate against unemployment and a lack of basic services in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, on Sunday, July 15.

Baghdad (CNN)At least eight people are dead and dozens injured in weeklong protests over jobs and basic services, Iraq's Ministry of Health spokesman Saif al-Bader said Monday.

The protests started in the southern Iraq port city of Basra and spread to different areas of the country.
At least 56 people have been wounded, seven of them critically, Bader said in a news conference.
    Protesters react as Iraqi security forces fire tear gas during a demonstration against unemployment and a lack of basic services in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, on Sunday, July 15.
    Of the eight dead, two were killed in Basra, two in Najaf, three in al-Simawa and one in Karabala. A Ministry of Health worker was killed in a car accident related to the protests and one ambulance worker remains in critical condition, Bader said.
    The Ministry of Electricity has taken steps to improve service in Basra, said spokesman Musa'ab al-Mudaris at the same press conference.

    Heat, power issues add to unrest

    Angry protests over unemployment and the lack of basic services have spread across southern Iraq since last week, as the oil-rich country tries to recover after many years of war.
    The protests were exacerbated by issues such as sweltering heat, power cuts, water quality and sanitation problems.
    The outpouring on the street spread through other provinces in the country's Shiite heartland in the south, such as Dhi Qar, Najaf, Maysan and Babil. Protests also took place in Baghdad, the nation's capital.
    While some protests have been largely peaceful, others included rock-throwing, setting tires and buildings on fire and blocking roads.

    Hundreds at oil installations, government buildings

    Hundreds demonstrated at oil installations, offices of political parties and government buildings. Internet outages have been widespread except for Irbil and other Kurdish areas in northern Iraq.
    Violence raged Friday, with clashes in Maysan province, where demonstrators stormed government offices in Amara. At least nine security forces and 21 protesters were injured, police said.
    In the city of Nasiriya in Dhi Qar province, at least six civilians and 36 police officers were injured in protests, authorities said.
    Protesters on Friday stormed the main area of Najaf's airport and caused damage, a member of the Najaf City Council and a security officer said. Other protesters stormed government offices and set ablaze political party offices. At least five people were wounded in Najaf, including two security officers.
    Iraqi security forces spray demonstrators with a water canon during protests in the city of Najaf, on Saturday, July 14.