On Wednesday, September 12, hundreds of protesters marched peacefully in Basra, from Arousa Square in Tuwaisa to the burned-out Basra Governorate Building. Similar demonstrations have been held over past several days to call for improved public services, the removal of the head of the Basra Operations Command (BaOC), and compensation for the families of victims killed during protests held earlier in the month. Another march is expected on Thursday evening, September 13. An increased security presence is anticipated.
Basra has been the stage of violent protests in recent weeks, which culminated on September 7 when protesters set fire to several buildings, including the Iranian Consulate, the provincial government building, and the Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq group headquarters. The past few days have seen a relative calm. According to Iraq's Independent High Commission for Human Rights, protests in Basra have left at least a dozen people dead and nearly 100 other wounded since September 1.
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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