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04 Nov 2019 | 06:23 PM UTC

Iraq: Internet service blocked nationwide November 5 /update 39

Government blocks access to most internet service across Iraq as protests continue November 5; associated disruptions and further clashes between security forces and protesters expected

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transportation
IRQ

Event

Internet access has reportedly been cut off to most parts of Iraq as of 00:01 (local time) on Tuesday, November 5, as protests continue across the country. According to media reports, internet service disruptions are ongoing in Baghdad, Basra, Karbala, and other major population centers. It is unclear how long the restrictions will remain in place.

A curfew came into effect in Baghdad at 02:00 on Tuesday as protesters continued to gather in Tahrir Square and other parts of the capital. The situation remains fluid and tensions remain high after security forces used live ammunition and tear gas in an attempt to disperse crowds earlier in the day. Initial reports indicate that at least five people were killed and another 30 wounded after police officers opened fire on demonstrators who were attempting to topple barricades on the Ahrar Bridge.

Heightened security measures and disruptions to transportation and business are to be expected in Baghdad and other major urban centers over the coming days as protests and the nightly curfew continues. Disruptions to internet and telecommunications services are also expected to continue amid the unrest. Clashes between protesters and security forces are likely around protest sites.

Context

Demonstrations broke out 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. At least 250 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.

Advice

Individuals in Baghdad and across 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.

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