The National Wisdom Movement has called for protests to be held across the country on Friday, July 19, to demand improved public services and to denounce the government's perceived inefficiency and corruption. Exact locations and times of the protests were not immediately reported, although demonstrations are likely to be held in major urban centers, including the capital Baghdad, and in the southern provinces. Organizers have threatened to continue demonstrating until their demands are met by the government.
Heightened security measures and significant traffic disruptions are to be anticipated around all demonstrations. Clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out.
The leader of the National Wisdom Movement and former member of the Islamic Supreme Council (ISC), Ammar al-Hakim, has announced in June the withdrawal of the party from the Reform and Reconstruction Alliance at the Iraqi Parliament to join the opposition side against the government.
Individuals in Iraq are advised to closely monitor the situation, avoid all protests and large public gatherings as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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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