Authorities in Baghdad lifted the city's daytime curfew early (local time) on Saturday, October 5, following days of escalating, nationwide protests that have left at least 72 people dead and hundreds of others wounded. Traffic is reportedly running normally in the capital as of Saturday, and no major disturbances have been reported. A curfew was ordered in Dhi Qar province on Saturday beginning at 13:00, and curfews remain in place in other urban centers.
The Iraqi parliament is set to meet on Saturday to discuss the demands of protesters, although Iraqi Shi'a cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who called for the ruling government to resign on Friday, October 4, has stated that he and his followers will be boycotting the session. Iraqi state media reported on Saturday that some protest leaders have met with government officials to discuss resolutions to the unrest.
Internet service disruptions continued throughout Iraq as of Saturday. Access to Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, and other social media apps has been limited or completely blocked.
Heightened security measures and disruptions to transportation and business are to be expected in affected cities over the coming days as protests continue. Clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out.
The nationwide protests, which began October 1, have been organized to denounce a perceived lack of employment opportunities and allegations of government corruption.
Individuals in Baghdad and across 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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