Security officials announced on Wednesday, October 2, that a curfew has been imposed in the southern cities of Nasiriyah, Amarah, and Hillah after a second consecutive day of anti-government protests. Gunfights erupted between demonstrators and police in Nasiriyah on Wednesday, prompting the government to deploy counter-terrorism forces to restore order. Five people were killed and over 200 wounded nationwide amid increasingly violent protests across major urban centers. Protesters reportedly set fire to government buildings in Nasiriyah, Amarah, and Najaf, and attempted to break into a municipality building in Kut.
The exact time and duration of the curfew remains unclear as of Wednesday evening (local time); a heightened security presence, along with commercial and transportation disruptions, is to be expected over the coming days and week. Clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out in the event of demonstrations.
Recent protests in Iraq have been motivated by a lack of employment opportunities and allegations of government corruption.
Individuals in Iraq are advised to closely monitor the situation, avoid all protests and large public gatherings as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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.