Protesters have arrived in al-Haboubi Square in Nasiriyah (Dhi Qar province) on Saturday, November 28, to erect tents for a second day. Violence erupted in the same location on Friday, November 27, between grass-root protesters and supporters of populist Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Reports on Saturday from local medics indicate that the clashes between the rival demonstrators resulted in six killed and approximately 60 injured. Anti-government activists in Nasiriyah accused Sadrists of shooting at them, throwing petrol bombs, and torching their tents in their main gathering at al-Haboubi Square, which led to protesters fighting back. The clashes continued into the night; authorities launched investigations into the events and imposed an overnight curfew in Nasiriyah. Other cities have also imposed security measures.
Nationwide demonstrations were held on Friday organized by activists associated with Shia Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in support of his candidacy in the June 2021 parliamentary elections. Thousands gathered in Tahrir Square in Baghdad and in other southern provinces to show support for al-Sadr.
A heightened security presence is likely in Nasiriyah and in the vicinity of further rallies. Localized disruptions should also be anticipated in the area. Further clashes are possible.
Those in Nasiriyah are advised to avoid all demonstrations as a precaution, monitor developments, anticipate associated disruptions, and heed official instructions issued by local authorities.
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