At least two people were killed in Baghdad overnight between Saturday, November 23, and Sunday, November 24, after clashes erupted between security forces and protesters on Al-Rasheed Street. Demonstrations in the capital continued into Sunday. At least 15 people were wounded when security forces used live fire and tear gas to prevent protesters from reaching the central bank.
Widespread violence and unrest were also reported across southern Iraq on Sunday. In the port city of Umm Qasr, three people were killed and 90 others wounded by live fire. Police forcibly dispersed protesters gathered along three bridges in Nasiriyah on Sunday, killing four and wounding 90 others. In Basra, hundreds of protesters blocked government offices by burning tires and setting fire to vehicles. At least 35 people were wounded in ensuing clashes with security forces. Police also wounded at least 24 people in Karbala after opening fire on demonstrators attempting to reach the local government headquarters. Associated protests were also reported in Diwaniyah, Kut, Amarah, and Najaf.
Heightened security measures and disruptions to transportation and businesses are to be expected in Baghdad, Basra, 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 near all protest sites.
Demonstrations broke out in Iraq 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. An estimated 340 people have been killed and 15,000 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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