Sources indicate that protesters have called for another demonstration in Baghdad on Friday, December 20, at Tahrir Square. Protesters have rejected all potential nominees for the prime ministerial role, which will likely be the central concern during this protest. A time was not immediately available, and protests are likely to be peaceful unless clashes with police occur.
Protesters are reportedly planning a separate 'mass gathering,' though with the delay in a prime minister's nomination until at least Sunday, December 22, the gathering will likely be delayed as well.
Roadblocks, other transportation and business disruptions, and a heightened security presence are to be expected throughout Baghdad, as well as other urban centers in the coming days as protests, spontaneous or otherwise, remain possible. Clashes between demonstrators and security forces cannot be ruled out.
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 450 people have been killed and unconfirmed estimates state that over 20,000 people have been wounded since protests began.
Individuals in 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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