Part of the wave of demonstrations sweeping across central and southern Iraq, they demanded jobs, electricity, water and an end to the mass theft of Iraq's oil wealth by the political parties.
Beginning on 8 July, the protests are the biggest and most prolonged in a country where anti-government action has usually taken the form of armed insurgency.
The demonstrations are taking place in the heartlands of the Shia majority, reflecting their outrage at living on top of some of the world's largest oilfields, but seeing their families barely survive in squalor and poverty.
The protests began in Basra, Iraq's third largest city which is at the centre of 70 per cent of its oil production. A hand-written placard held up by one demonstrator neatly expresses popular frustration.