'Hundreds took to the streets Saturday throughout Iraq to demand open elections and improved public services, revealing a growing discontent among Iraqis that is overshadowing concerns about the ability of Iraqi forces to take over from withdrawing American troops.
Low oil prices have left the Iraqi government struggling to restore infrastructure after years of neglect, corruption and insurgent attacks, as well as to rebuild their security forces before a planned American withdrawal in 2011.
About 200 demonstrators took to the streets in central Baghdad, chanting: "No water, no electricity in the country of oil and the two rivers," a reference to Iraq's ancient name.
Protester Najim Abid said he and others were calling on the Iraqi government and international aid organizations to take immediate action to improve conditions for Iraqis.
"They must step in and save the Iraqi people, who are suffering because of poverty and deprivation," said Abid, 52, a retired government worker.'