Anti-government demonstrators have gathered in Baghdad on Monday, October 26, and reports suggest that dozens have clashed with security forces. Media sources suggest police fired stun grenades and tear gas at protesters who were throwing rocks and burning tires on Al-Jumhuriyah bridge which leads to the International Zone (Green Zone). Monday's protest follows nationwide anti-government demonstrations on Sunday, October 25, marking the first anniversary of the 2019 anti-government protests in Iraq. Thousands of protesters gathered in Baghdad, Karbala, Diwaniyah, Babil, Basra, Najaf, Maysan, and Wasit, and other cities.
There have been no immediate reports of injuries in Monday's protests; however, further clashes between security forces and protesters and subsequent casualties cannot be ruled out. A heightened security presence is to be expected near protest sites. Disruption to transportation and business operations is likely in the vicinity of protests.
Protests began in October 2019 with people demanding an end to government corruption and an increase in living standards but quickly grew to demand total government reform. While they have largely ceased due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, mass rallies were held on Sunday, October 25, with people reportedly traveling from throughout Iraq to take part. Security has been increased in the capital, and concrete barriers have been erected in Tahrir Square. A significant security presence has been reported in the Baghdad International Zone (Green Zone) to prevent protesters from entering.
Those in Baghdad are advised to monitor the situation, adjust travel itineraries and avoid unnecessary overland movement in the immediate term, avoid the vicinity of any demonstrations, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
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