At least three people were killed and 40 others wounded in Nasiriyah (Dhi Qar province) on Friday, October 25, when the Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq militia reportedly opened fire into a crowd of protesters attempting to break into the Shi'ite militia group's local offices. Police sources stated that 18 additional protesters were wounded attempting to break into the militia group's local offices in Amarah (Maysan province). Protesters in Nasiriyah also set fire to local Dhi Qar province government buildings. Similar protests have been reported in Samawah (Muthanna province) and in Najaf, Wasit, and Basra provinces.
Protests are ongoing nationwide as of Friday evening (local time), with security forces reportedly using tear gas, rubber bullets, and live ammunition to disperse protesters. In Baghdad, two protesters were killed on Friday morning after being struck by tear gas canisters and hundreds of others were wounded.
The protests coincide with the deadline issued by Grand Ayatollah Sistani to the government to produce a report on who in the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) was responsible for firing at civilians during previous demonstrations. Coordinating committees for the protests have reportedly announced several demands to the government, including creating more democratic institutions, as well as expressing concerns over MP salaries, the allocation of stipends to the unemployed, and a lack of support for the agricultural sector.
A heightened security presence is to be expected in Baghdad and other urban centers over the coming days as protests are likely to continue. Disruptions to internet and telecommunications services are possible amid the unrest. Localized traffic disruptions are to be expected during the protests, and clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out.
Demonstrations first broke out on October 1 to protest perceived government corruption, inadequate provision of public services, and a lack of job opportunities. According to the Iraqi government, over 150 people have been killed in protest violence.
Individuals in Baghdad and across 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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