The Sadrist Movement, in collaboration with other political groups, is expected to stage a demonstration in eastern Baghdad’s Tahrir Square on Friday, January 26. Smaller gatherings in other parts of Baghdad as well as other locations across southern Iraq are also expected. The Tahrir Square demonstration will start at around 15:00 (local time), though crowds and traffic restrictions will likely be in place prior to that. The demonstrations are being organized to demand reforms and the prosecution of corrupt politicians.
The Sadrist Movement, named after Shi’a cleric Al-Sadr, was founded during the Shi’a revolt against Saddam Hussein in the 1990s. The movement, which participated in a coalition of Shi’a parties in the 2005 general elections, benefits from strong supports among the Shi’a population, especially the lower classes.
Individuals in Iraq are advised to avoid all demonstrations due to the risk of violence and to keep abreast of the situation.
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.