News Alerts

03 Nov 2019 | 07:09 AM UTC

Iraq: Traffic disruptions due to protests in Baghdad November 3 /update 36

Iraq News Alert

Traffic disruptions are ongoing in Baghdad due to protests on November 3; heightened security measures, disruptions to transportation and business, and clashes between protesters and security forces expected as demonstrations continue

TIMEFRAME expected from 11/3/2019, 12:00 AM until 11/4/2019, 11:59 PM (Asia/Baghdad). COUNTRY/REGION Baghdad

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Event

As of 06:00 on Sunday, November 3, protesters in Baghdad were attempting to block main roads to prevent government workers from reaching their places of employment, according to posts circulating on social media. At approximately 09:00, a large-scale demonstration in Aden Square (Kadhimiyah district) is causing heavy traffic disruption. Route Pluto/Canal Expressway in Karadah and Baladiyat in New Baghdad district are also blocked to traffic. Local sources have reported an increased presence of Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) personnel in the capital.

Protesters remained in Tahrir Square during the night of Saturday, November 2, through Sunday despite the death of at least one person and the injury of a further 88 during opposition protests earlier on Saturday. Unconfirmed reports indicated that protesters again tried to cross the Al-Jumariyah and Sinak bridges to the north of the International Zone, but were stopped by ISF defences.  A female activist has also reportedly been kidnapped by unidentified armed men in Al-Baya'a (West Rashid district) after returning from Tahrir Square on Saturday night. 

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.

Context

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 250 people have been killed and 10,000 wounded since protests began. On October 31, President Barham Saleh announced that Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi agreed to resign if the Iraqi parliament's party blocs can agree on a replacement.

Advice

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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