According to media reports, security forces fired live ammunition to disperse a protest in Baghdad on the morning (local time) of Thursday, October 3, as dozens of protesters were burning tires despite a curfew imposed by the authorities hours earlier. The protest was reportedly taking place at Tahrir Square.
Prime Minister Abdel Abdul Mahdi has declared an indefinite curfew in Baghdad starting at 05:00 on Thursday, following two days of violent protests. According to media reports, during the curfew all vehicular and individual movement is restricted in Baghdad during the curfew, until further notice. Some individuals are exempt from the curfew, including those traveling to and from the airport, electricity, and water department staff, and religious pilgrims. Heightened security measures are anticipated throughout Baghdad in the coming hours and days. Associated protests are also possible despite the curfew.
Significant internet service disruptions have also been reported in Baghdad as of Thursday morning. Access to Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, and other social media apps has been limited or completely blocked. Similar restrictions are being reported throughout the country. As of 08:45, telephone and SMS services remain available.
Similar curfews are also in effect for the southern cities of Nasiriyah, Amarah, and Hillah after a second consecutive day of opposition protests. A heightened security presence, along with commercial and transportation disruptions, is to be expected over the coming days and week. Clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out in the event of demonstrations.
At least seven people have been killed and another 400 wounded in nationwide protests since Tuesday, October 1. Recent protests in Iraq have been motivated by a lack of employment opportunities and allegations of government corruption.
Individuals in Iraq are advised to closely monitor the situation, avoid all protests and large public gatherings as a precaution, anticipate internet service disruptions, 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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