Outside the Ministry of Oil, supporters of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr pray as part of a three-day protest to call attention to the country's fuel shortage. Iraq is importing more than US$200 million of fuel from neighbouring countries each month, but supplies are often low because of attacks on pipelines, corruption and the killing and kidnap of tanker drivers. Riad Khadim, who came from Mesan province in the south to join the demonstration, said he was shocked by what he saw at petrol stations in Baghdad. 'We are fighting each other just to get fuel,' he said. 'Sometimes when we stand in line they come and kick us out of line because we have jerry cans and they think we are taking the fuel to sell it.' Many Iraqis are now buying cooking gas, kerosene and petrol on the black market at US pump prices, up to US$3 a gallon, though a good wage in Iraq is just US$200 a month. Pushing a cart of jerry cans filled with petrol in downtown Baghdad, Abo Salam blamed corruption for price rises in the past six months. 'They sell petrol during the night, after the curfew. 'The men in charge of the fuel stations pay the policemen and sell it to their friends - they bring trucks and big tanks,' he said. Insurgents concentrate their attacks on pipelines. 'The pipelines were attacked 46 times in November,' Ministry of Oil spokesman Assem Jihad said. 'It's increasing as we get closer to the elections. Sometimes the pipelines are attacked an hour after we fix them.' Outside the ministry, Sadr spokesman Ghaith al-Tamimi said the demonstration also was intended to highlight problems with the electricity supply and access to clean water and medical facilities. 'I met with the minister and he told me some smugglers are collaborating with police and with the national guards. 'We spoke for more than two hours, but after it all he said the security situation is not good and that the terrorists are attacking the pipes and causing the shortage,' he said.