UK troops fire on Basra crowds

British troops in riot gear were deployed in Basra to quell spreading disturbances over shortages of petrol and power on Saturday.

    British forces, usually more restrained than the US occupiers, drop softly, softly approach

    The troops fired into the air to keep back the crowd at one petrol station, a British military spokesman said, adding that violence broke out around least four petrol stations.

       

    "We are taking measures to control the crowd” and normalise the situation, he said.

     

    Stone-throwing

       

    Witnesses said angry Iraqis threw stones, attacked Kuwaiti-registered cars and burned tyres. 

       

    The crowd was enraged by the lack of petrol at the station and power in the city where summer temperature was over 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit).

     

    They stoned and burned a Kuwaiti tanker at one petrol station. The spokesman said British forces rescued the occupants of the vehicle.

     

    The crowd was enraged by the lack of petrol at the station and power in the city where summer temperature was over 50 degrees Celsius

    The soldiers opened fire in the air after the angry crowd threw stones at soldiers and at the Kuwaiti tanker at the station in Saad Square in Basra. The crowd then set the tanker on fire, the witnesses said.

       

    One witness said he saw three British soldiers injured by stones. The British spokesman could not confirm whether there had been any injuries.

       

    The spokesman said two power generators at the station had broken down due to the heat, thus preventing the station from pumping petrol to customers. Locals accused Kuwaiti tankers of smuggling cheap Iraqi petrol to Kuwait. 

    SOURCE: Agencies


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