The opposition group, Committee for the Demonstration of the October Revolution, are calling for nationwide demonstrations on Tuesday, February 25, to reject the designation of Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi as prime minister. Organizers are calling on supporters to gather in Baghdad and in the major cities of the southern provinces. Shi'a cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has also called for renewed protests in the International Zone (Baghdad) if parliament fails to vote on Prime Minister Allawi's cabinet during the week commencing Sunday, February 23. A heightened security presence and localized transportation disruptions are expected near all protest sites, and particularly near the main sit-in sites.
Security forces killed one protester and injured a further seven during demonstrations in Baghdad's Khalani Square on Sunday. Further clashes between protesters and security forces are anticipated at any protest or demonstration; opposition protests may continue in the coming days amid a heightened security presence.
Demonstrations broke out in Iraq on October 1, 2019, to protest alleged government corruption, inadequate provision of public services, and a lack of job opportunities. Following weeks of relatively calm demonstrations, violence resumed on October 24-25, coinciding with the deadline issued by Grand Ayatollah Sistani to the government issuing them to produce a report on the members of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) that were responsible for firing at civilians during previous demonstrations. An estimated 670 people have been killed and some 24,488 people have been wounded since the protests began.
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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