Large groups of protesters gathered in Tahrir Square and on the Al Jumariyah bridge in Baghdad on Friday, November 8. Security forces reportedly used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse crowds in the capital's main streets, and roadblocks were erected on Al Jumariyah bridge to prevent protesters from accessing the Green Zone. Additional protests were reported on Friday in Karbala, where security forces tore down tents of protesters participating in a sit-in.
According to Iraqi state media, anti-government protesters detonated an explosive under the Sinak bridge leading to the Green Zone on Friday. It is unclear if the explosion caused any damage to the bridge and no casualties from the incident have been reported as of 18:00 (local time) on Friday.
Internet access remains restricted through most parts of Iraq. It is unclear how long the restrictions will remain in place.
Heightened security measures and disruptions to transportation and business are to be expected in Baghdad and other major urban centers over the coming days as protests and the nightly curfew continues. Disruptions to internet and telecommunications services are also expected to continue amid the unrest. Clashes between protesters and security forces are likely around the 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 260 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.
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.
Copyright and Disclaimer