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Calm returns to Iraq's Basra after week of violent protests

Popular Mobilization Forces parade in Basra, 340 miles (550 km) southeast of Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018. A local military commander for an alliance of powerful Shiite militias, many of them backed by Iran, vowed a response Saturday to weeklong protests that have turned violent in the southern city of Basra, raising the specter for more escalation in the oil-rich southern region. (AP Photo/Nabil al-Jurani)

BASRA, Iraq (AP) -- A sense of calm has returned to Iraq's southern city of Basra after a week of violent protests over unemployment and poor public services that left at least 15 people dead.

Troops sent from Baghdad have reinforced police, and on Sunday government offices and markets reopened after a quiet night. Municipality workers were out in force cleaning up the streets and carting away debris from the clashes.

The oil-rich region has been convulsed by the most serious protests in years, with residents complaining of power outages, filthy tap water and soaring unemployment.

In recent days, protesters have attacked government offices, political party headquarters and the Iranian consulate. Many blame their woes on neighboring Iran's outsized influence on Iraqi politics and are calling for radical change.

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