Activists called for a one-day general strike to take place on Sunday, November 17, in support of those holding a sit-in at Tahrir Square. As of 10:30 (local time) on Sunday, protesters are blocking roads in several major urban areas, including in Baghdad, Basra, Najaf, Babel, Wasit, Diwaniya, Dhi Qar, and Maysan. Several thousand people are participating in sit-ins in front of state departments and provincial council buildings. In Basra, protesters are blocking the main roads in and out of the city, as well as placing burning tires on several other roads. Local sources have said that protesters may block the roads leading to Basra International Airport (BSR) later on Sunday. Members of the Beit Wafi tribe are also protesting at the entrance to the Majnoon oil concession, blocking access to the concession and causing traffic delays, according to local sources. There is a heightened security presence in the area, however, no incidents of violence have been reported.
Protesters in Baghdad are still occupying Al-Sinak bridge, including at the first and second checkpoints on the bridge, as of 09:00 on Sunday, despite security forces previously clearing the area. They are also maintaining a presence in the adjacent Khalani Square and in buildings overlooking the bridge. One person was reportedly killed during clashes with security forces in the capital on Saturday, November 16, and several others were injured.
Heightened security measures and disruptions to transportation and businesses are to be expected in Baghdad and other major urban centers over the coming days as protests continue. Disruptions to internet and telecommunications services are also expected to continue amid the unrest. Clashes between protesters and security forces are likely around all protest sites.
Demonstrations broke out in Iraq 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. More than 300 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 Iraq are advised to monitor the situation and refrain from nonessential travel to the border regions with Iran.
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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