Protests continued in Basra for a third consecutive day on Wednesday, September 5, with thousands of demonstrators taking to the streets to express their frustration over a lack of basic services and high unemployment, as well as their anger over the deaths of at least six protesters in violent clashes with security forces in recent days. Residents gathered around the provincial governorate building on Wednesday, reportedly throwing projectiles (including Molotov cocktails) at the building and some attempting to bypass concrete barriers; security forces attempted to disperse the crowd with tear gas and by firing live shots in the air. Further protests are likely in the coming days.
Five protesters were killed in Basra on September 4 and one on September 3 during clashes with security forces; dozens more people (including civilians and military personnel) have been injured. Tuesday's violence prompted authorities to declare a citywide curfew. Basra has already been the setting for a series of related anti-government demonstrations in recent months as residents have become increasingly angry over recurring power outages, a lack of safe drinking water, and allegations of government corruption, among other grievances.
Individuals in Iraq, 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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