Two militiamen from cleric Muqtada al Sadr's Saraya al Salam group and another two from Asaib Ahl al Haq paramilitary group were killed in tit-for-tat attacks.
Oil is the main driver of Iraq’s economy, but at human and environmental costs.
A bomb killed four people and injured more than 20 others in Basra, the first such attack in years in a part of the country that has enjoyed relative stability.
An entire generation of Iraqis have been robbed of their childhoods and those responsible for the devastation will never face accountability.
The clashes erupted after some of the protesters tried to set up tents in a public square, a week after similar, previously-erected protest tents in Basra and Baghdad had been removed.
The protest was the most violent incident in Basra since mass anti-government demonstrations in October, when tens of thousands took to the streets in Baghdad and across the south to decry government corruption.
Mustafa al Kazimi will have to pick a side if he wants to enact meaningful change.
Iraqi protesters converged on Baghdad's Tahrir Square, the epicentre of the four-month anti-government protest movement, to condemn the militia attack on Najaf protesters late night on Wednesday.
A day after almost a million people marched in Baghdad against the presence of the US military in the country, the Iraqi government seeks an end to protests against its rule.
Barham Salih says he's "ready to resign" rather than designate Asaad al Edani – the candidate of a pro-Iranian coalition for the post of the prime minister – who he said would be rejected by protesters.
The nomination was promptly rejected by Iraqi protesters who want an independent candidate to take over the government, officials said.
Dozens others were wounded in clashes with security forces as protesters burned car tyres on roads and outside many public offices in the southern city of Nasiriyah, some 300 kilometres south of the capital Baghdad.
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