At least one person was killed and 88 others were wounded when Iraqi security forces used tear gas and live ammunition to disperse anti-government protesters in Baghdad on Saturday, November 2. Thousands of protesters reportedly gathered in Tahrir Square on Saturday and made multiple attempts to move toward Baghdad's Green Zone. Clashes were also reported in the southern town of Um Qasr, where an additional 120 protesters were wounded.
These protests come two days after President Barham Saleh's October 31 announcement that Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi has agreed to resign if the Iraqi parliament's party blocs can agree on a replacement.
Heightened security measures and disruptions to transportation and business are to be expected in major urban centers over the coming days as 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. Following weeks of relative calm, demonstrations violently resumed on October 24-25, coinciding 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. At least 100 people have been killed and 5500 wounded in the recent week 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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