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21 Nov 2019 | 05:26 AM UTC

Iraq: Two fatalities amid protests in Baghdad November 21 /update 59

At least two protesters killed during protests in Baghdad November 21; associated disruptions and further clashes between security forces and protesters expected



Security forces reportedly fired tear gas and live ammunition to disperse protesters who were occupying Al-Sinak bridge and Ahrar bridge in Baghdad as of Thursday, November 21, killing at least two people. At least 38 protesters were injured in the clashes. Further clashes are expected over the coming hours as security forces attempt to take back the central bridges from protesters.

In Basra, a protest has been reported outside the university. Authorities have announced the reopening of the Khor al-Zubair port after successful talks with protesters who left the entrance, allowing operations to resume. The Umm Qasr port's entrances remain however blocked by protesters as of Thursday, forcing the port to suspend operations.

Heightened security measures and disruptions to transportation and businesses are to be expected in Baghdad, Basra, and other major urban centers over the coming days as protests continue. Disruptions to Internet and telecommunications services are also expected to continue amid the unrest. Clashes between protesters and security forces are likely near all protest sites.


Demonstrations broke out in Iraq on October 1 to protest perceived government corruption, inadequate provision of public services, and a lack of job opportunities. Following weeks of relative calm, demonstrations violently resumed on October 24-25, coinciding with the deadline issued by Grand Ayatollah Sistani to the government to produce a report on who in the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) was responsible for firing at civilians during previous demonstrations. More than 300 people have been killed and 10,000 wounded since protests began. On October 31, President Barham Saleh announced that Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi agreed to resign if the Iraqi parliament's party blocs can agree on a replacement.


Individuals in Iraq are advised to monitor the situation and refrain from nonessential travel to the border regions with Iran.

The security environment in Iraq remains complex. Although travel is possible in some areas with proper security protocols in place, other areas should be considered strictly off-limits. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to all travel.

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