According to local sources, a protest is likely to take place on Thursday, May 14, in Basra, following the arrest of a number of individuals accused of firing on protesters in Basra at a Sunday, May 10 gathering. The arrests took place on Monday, May 11, when Iraqi security forces conducted a dawn raid on the office of Sayyid Yousef al-Moussawi, the head of the Thaarulallah (Gods Revenge) militia and political organization from which bullets were reportedly fired at the protesters. The protest will likely be held in support of Thaarulallah and its activities.
Should the protest go ahead, a heightened security presence and clashes are to be expected in its vicinity. Counter-protests cannot be ruled out.
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 over 24,400 people have been wounded since the protests began.
Individuals in Baghdad are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all protests as a precaution, anticipate a heightened security presence, budget ample travel time, and obey instructions issued by 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