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Iraq’s Umm Qasr Port reopens for trade after security forces disperse protesters – Maritime, Iraq, Umm Qasr, Protests

Iraq’s primary sea freight gateway, Umm Qasr Port near Basra, has been reopened after security forces in the country dispersed protesters who had blockaded the harbour, reports Reuters.

Security forces reopened the entrance to Iraq’s main port, Umm Qasr, which protesters had blocked since Monday, port sources said.

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Normal operations had not yet resumed.

At least 330 people have been killed since the start of mass unrest in Baghdad and southern Iraq in early October, the largest demonstrations since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Protesters are demanding structural reforms to the country’s economy, which they see as corrupt and unequal.

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Iraq’s Umm Qasr Port shutdown over the weekend by protesters

They had previously blocked Umm Qasr from Oct. 29-Nov. 9, apart from a brief resumption of operations for three days. It receives imports of grain, vegetable oils and sugar shipments that feed a country largely dependent on imported food.

The initial blockage cost Iraq more than $6 billion during just the first week of the closure, a government spokesman said at the time.

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