At least five deaths have been reported as protests in Basra turned violent for a second night in a row on Tuesday, September 4. According to local officials, at least 16 protesters and 14 members of the security forces have also been injured. Local residents, already angry over the death of a protester on Monday evening, gathered at local government buildings on Tuesday and reportedly threw petrol bombs and other projectiles; some material damage has been reported, including at one provincial government building that was set on fire by protesters. Demonstrators also attempted to block roads in the city. Security forces reportedly attempted to disperse the crowds with tear gas and live fire. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi has called for a return to calm; nevertheless, further protests are possible in the coming days.
A series of demonstrations have taken place in Basra in recent weeks, with protesters demanding improved public services and denouncing perceived widespread corruption. 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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