The Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel-Mehdi announced on Friday, November 29, that he will submit his resignation to Parliament. The announcement comes one day after one of the most violent days in the nationwide protest movement that has been ongoing since early October, during which around 400 people died and at least 15,000 have been wounded. It was not immediately clear when the resignation will go into effect and who will replace the Prime Minister.
Previously, the Prime Minister removed a military commander due to clashes in Nasiriyah, and the governor for Dhi Qar province also resigned because of the violence. Around 25 people were killed after security forces used live ammunition to disperse crowds gathered on bridges in the southern city of Nasiriyah on Thursday, November 28, and at least 233 people were wounded in the crackdown on protesters.
Gatherings have been reported since the Prime Minister's announcement, particularly at Tahrir Square in Baghdad. Violence may escalate as the announcement is announced and the government implements a strategy regarding the protests.
Heightened security measures and disruptions to transportation and businesses are to be expected in Baghdad, Najaf, Nasiriyah, and other major urban centers over the coming days as protests continue. 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. An estimated 400 people have been killed and 15,000 wounded since 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.