Roadblocks have been reported in Basra and Zubayr on Tuesday, November 26, as protesters gathered for another day of demonstrations, with access to the city severely limited. This includes the Basra bridge and access to nearby oilfields. Warning shots have been reported in an attempt to disperse protests. Unconfirmed online sources report that security forces have used live ammunition to disperse protests at the Dhi Qar Oil Refinery near Nasiriyah in the afternoon (local time) on Tuesday. Additional roadblocks including burning tires have also been reported in Najaf as well as on roads leading to the ports of Umm Qasr and Khor Al-Zubair. A group of approximately 200 protesters arrived at the entrance to the Umm Qasr port on Tuesday to demonstrate against the killing of protesters over recent days.
Sources indicate that at least nine people have been killed in protests on Monday, November 25. In Baghdad, protesters continued to clash with security forces in the vicinity of Tahrir Square and security forces used live ammunition and tear gas to disperse protesters. One member of security forces and ten protesters were injured by a Molotov cocktail on al-Rasheed Street.
Protests in Dhi Qar left 28 officers injured. Roads in Nasiriyah city were temporarily blocked by protesters during the evening on Monday. Iraqi authorities announced the suspension of official working hours thrughout Dhi Qar on Tuesday for security reasons.
Heightened security measures and disruptions to transportation and businesses are to be expected in Baghdad, Basra, Zubayr, 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 near 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. An estimated 340 people have been killed and 15,000 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 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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