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13 Feb 2020 | 06:27 AM UTC

Iraq: Protests possible ahead of Prime Minister Allawi’s cabinet announcement February 16 /update 116

Anti-government protests may continue ahead of Prime Minister designate Allawi’s projected cabinet announcement on February 16; avoid all protests

security
IRQ

Event

Nasr-affiliated MP Muhammad al-Khalidi has stated that Prime Minister Mohammed Allawi is set to announce a new cabinet formation on Sunday, February 16, two weeks ahead of the March 2 cabinet formation deadline. Protests led by anti-government groups and PMF supporters remain possible in the days leading to the announcement, as well as on the day of.

Protests were reported in Baghdad on Wednesday, February 12, specifically in Tahrir Square. The Sinak bridge, having previously opened, was later closed as protesters dispersed outside the Tahrir area. The bridge remained open at the time of reporting.

Context

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.

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.