Security forces killed at least four people and wounded nearly 100 others in Baghdad on Saturday, November 9, forcibly retaking protester-occupied bridges in the capital while driving anti-government demonstrators back toward their main encampment in Tahrir Square. Authorities reported security forces using tear gas, live ammunition, and sound bombs to disperse protesters; some demonstrators reportedly threw Molotov cocktails at security forces. As of Saturday, anti-government protesters still occupy Tahrir Square and part of nearby Al-Jumariyah Bridge.
Internet access remains restricted through most parts of Iraq. It is unclear how long the restrictions will remain in place.
Heightened security measures and disruptions to transportation and business are to be expected in Baghdad and other major urban centers over the coming days as protests continue. Disruptions to internet and telecommunications services are also expected to continue amid the unrest. Clashes between protesters and security forces are likely around the 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 260 people have been killed and 10,000 wounded since protests began. On October 31, President Barham Saleh announced that Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi agreed to resign if the Iraqi parliament's party blocs can agree on a replacement.
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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