At least 50 protesters were wounded overnight between Thursday, October 31, and Friday, November 1, as thousands of Iraqis gathered in Baghdad in what is expected to be the largest demonstration since anti-government protests broke out on October 1. Protesters have reportedly erected roadblocks and checkpoints on streets leading to Tahrir Square, which serves as the protest's de facto base.
At least five protesters have been killed in recent days by tear gas canisters used in dispersal efforts by Iraqi security forces. The canisters are reportedly modeled on military grenades and are ten times heavier than normal tear gas canisters.
These protests come one day after President Barham Saleh's October 31 announcement that Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi has agreed to resign if the Iraqi parliament's party blocs can agree on a replacement.
Heightened security measures and disruptions to transportation and business are to be expected in major urban centers over the coming days as protests and the nightly curfew continue. Disruptions to internet and telecommunications services are possible amid the unrest. Clashes between protesters and security forces are likely around protest sites.
Demonstrations broke out on October 1 to protest perceived government corruption, inadequate provision of public services, and a lack of job opportunities. Following weeks of relative calm, demonstrations violently resumed on October 24-25, coinciding with the deadline issued by Grand Ayatollah Sistani to the government to produce a report on who in the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) was responsible for firing at civilians during previous demonstrations. At least 100 people have been killed and 5500 wounded in the recent week of unrest.
Individuals in Baghdad and across Iraq are advised to closely monitor the situation, avoid all protests and large public gatherings due to potential violence, prepare for disruptions to transportation and business in areas affected by anti-government demonstrations, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
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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