On Monday, October 28, Iraqi authorities declared a nightly curfew in Baghdad, in effect from midnight (local time) to 06:00 until further notice. The move comes amid the fourth consecutive day of anti-government protests in the capital denouncing high unemployment and perceived government corruption. The scope of protesters' grievances has also reportedly grown as the protest movement has evolved, with some demonstrators denouncing Iraqi politicians' perceived roles as instruments of the US or Iran as tensions remain high between the countries as well as the perceived outsized influence of Iranian-backed militias in state security forces. Notably, students joined Monday's protests in Baghdad, defying warnings from Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi of punishment for protesters disrupting school or business and prompting security forces to fire tear gas to disperse them.
Heightened security measures and disruptions to transportation and business are to be expected in Baghdad over the coming days as anti-government protests and the nightly curfew continue. Disruptions to internet and telecommunications services are possible amid the unrest. Clashes between protesters and security forces are likely around protest sites.
Demonstrations broke out on October 1 to protest perceived government corruption, inadequate provision of public services, and a lack of job opportunities. At least 230 people have been killed and thousands wounded in the following weeks of unrest.
Individuals in Baghdad and across Iraq are advised to closely monitor the situation, avoid all protests and large public gatherings due to potential violence, prepare for disruptions to transportation and business in areas affected by anti-government demonstrations, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
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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