Protesters gathered in Baghdad and other cities across Iraq on Monday, February 3, for anti-government protests that left one person killed in the south.
The victim was reportedly attacked by a group of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr supporters who sought to repress the anti-government movement. While Sadr supports the recently appointed Prime Minister Mohammad Allawi and asked his supporters to continue their presence in the streets, protesters in the movement have not yet determined their support for him. Sadr has gone as far as calling his supporters to partner with security forces to clear protesters from streets and makeshift camps.
In Baghdad, protests were reported on Republic bridge, causing significant transportation disruptions due to a high turnout.
Associated protests are to be expected in the coming days by the anti-government movement, as well as additional clashes between Sadrist groups and the protesters. Clashes are also possible with security forces
Demonstrations broke out in Iraq on October 1, 2019, to protest alleged government corruption, inadequate provision of public services, and a lack of job opportunities. Following weeks of relatively calm demonstrations, violence resumed on October 24-25, coinciding with the deadline issued by Grand Ayatollah Sistani to the government issuing them to produce a report on the members of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) that were responsible for firing at civilians during previous demonstrations. An estimated 669 people have been killed and some 24,488 people have been wounded since the protests began.
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.