Iraqis demonstrate for jobs at Shell's oil field

Iraqis demonstrate for jobs at Shell's oil field

AL-NASHWA, Iraq-Agence France-Presse
Iraqis demonstrate for jobs at Shells oil field

A policeman stands guard at a new jetty at Iraq’s Majnoon oil field in Basra on Feb 7. Reuters photo

More than 400 people demonstrated at the entrance of a massive oil field in Iraq on yesterday, calling on oil giant Shell to give them jobs, before police intervened and arrested two people. The protesters gathered at the entrance to the Majnoon field in Al-Nashwa area, holding signs with messages such as:

“No, no to Shell,” “No, no to foreign employees,” and “Where are Shell’s promises?”

“Shell promised to give job opportunities to our community, but the time is passing and we received no jobs,” Salah Matar, 45, told Agence France-Presse.

“Gas and oil are killing our farms, and we are sitting here with no jobs while they are bringing workers from East Asia and Pakistan,” Matar said. “We have priority in this land.”

Police broke up the protest about an hour after it began.

Shell Iraq spokesman Diego Perez told Agence France-Presse when asked about the protest that “we have provided estimated 1,100 unskilled jobs to people in Nashwa, Dyeer and Thager, out of the estimated 1,500 people working in the field today. We understand that unemployment is the largest problem in our communities, and we are doing our best to help, but the number of unemployed people largely exceeds the number of jobs we can allocate in Majnoon.”