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11 Jan 2020 | 04:17 AM UTC

Iraq: Protests continue in Baghdad, other cities on January 11 /update 92

Anti-government protests to continue in Baghdad and other cities on January 11; heightened security presence likely

security
transportation
IRQ

Event

Nationwide anti-government protests have continued on Saturday, January 11, in Baghdad and Basra, and more are expected to take place in the country's southern provinces. Protesters in Basra were reportedly disrupting traffic as of 07:15 (local time). On Friday, January 10, media sources reported that thousands of protesters took to the streets in several cities, including Baghdad, Karbala, and other provinces to voice their grievances; including opposition to foreign influence amid US-Iran clashes in the country. Protests were largely peaceful, though clashes were reported in parts of Baghdad and Basra.

Transportation and business disruptions, and a heightened security presence are to be expected throughout Iraq in the coming days. Clashes between demonstrators and security forces cannot be ruled out.

Context

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. An estimated 460 people have been killed and unconfirmed estimates state that over 25,000 people have been wounded since protests began. December 22 was the deadline set by President Barham Salih for Parliament to decide on a prime minister to replace PM Adel Abdul Mahdi.

Advice

Individuals in Iraq are advised to closely monitor the situation, avoid all protests and large public gatherings due to potential violence, prepare for disruptions to transportation and business in areas affected by anti-government demonstrations, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.

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.