Al-Shamiya 'suffers greatly'

Protesters block road in Diwaniyah’s Al-Shamiya over power outages

AL-DIWANIYAH — Protesters blocked the road connecting Al-Diwaniyah and Najaf on Thursday evening, protesting power outages in the Al-Shamiya district. Despite efforts by Zainab Abbas, a member of the Provincial Council, to calm the demonstrators, the situation escalated until SWAT forces intervened, reopening the road after Governor Abbas Shail Al-Zamili promised to improve the electricity supply by the upcoming Monday.

Ali Jawad Al-Kurdi, a participant in the protests, shared his frustrations with 964media: “Al-Shamiya district suffers greatly from inadequate electricity supply, especially in agricultural areas. We blocked the main road today and burned tires, refusing to leave despite the arrival of a large SWAT force.”

He further elaborated, “Governor Abbas Shail Al-Zamili contacted us and asked for time until next Monday. We will escalate our protests if there is no improvement in electricity supply by then.”

Al-Kurdi also expressed dissatisfaction with unfulfilled promises: “We have been falsely promised an agricultural program that was supposed to provide continuous power from 1 a.m. for eight hours. We did not receive the promised agricultural program or the scheduled two hours on, two hours off electricity supply.”

Thargham Qahtan, head of the protest coordination committee, detailed to 964media the challenges with the power situation: “The electricity supply here is unbearable. According to the provincial authorities, the power is supposed to run on a two-hour on, two-hour off schedule, but in reality, we experience four-hour outages followed by two hours of intermittent power.”

Qahtan continued, “In rural areas, we were supposed to receive the agricultural program, but we received nothing, and our crops are beginning to die, despite the losses rice farmers have suffered in their harvests.”

He concluded with a note on their ongoing efforts: “This is our second protest in two weeks. We demonstrated last Monday in front of the Al-Saree’ah power station in the district and were promised a solution, but nothing has changed.”

He added, “The Diwaniyah governorate announced the implementation of the agricultural program about three weeks ago, which includes supplying the rice-growing areas with eight continuous hours of electricity daily to allow farmers to run their irrigation pumps and water their fields.”