At least one protester was killed and six more were injured during violent clashes between demonstrators and security forces in Basra on Monday evening (local time), September 3. Hundreds of mourners subsequently gathered in Basra on Tuesday, September 4, in response to the death and to protest the previous day's violence. The situation on Tuesday remained tense, with demonstrators carrying the dead protester's coffin through the streets and again clashing with security forces. Mourners reportedly approached and damaged the gate of the provincial government headquarters, before being dispersed by security forces using tear gas. Protesters called for demonstrations to continue Tuesday evening, September 4. Additional demonstrations remain possible in the coming days.
Monday night's protests turned violent as demonstrators reportedly threw petrol bombs and other projectiles at security forces, who attempted to control the crowd by firing into the air and using tear gas. Related demonstrations were also held in Basra on Friday, August 31, with protesters demanding improved public services and denouncing perceived widespread corruption. These most recent protests follow a series of related anti-government demonstrations that have taken place throughout the summer. Although focused on southern Iraq, they have also spread to Baghdad, and have left over a dozen demonstrators dead and hundreds of others wounded.
Individuals in Iraq, and particularly those in Basra, 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.
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