Security forces killed one demonstrator and injured at least four others as they intervened in anti-government protests in Basra on Sunday, May 10. Security forces opened fire on protesters who had gathered outside the Basra governorate building. Further anti-government demonstrations were reported in other cities across Iraq on Sunday, including Baghdad, Diwaniya (Al-Qadisiyyah province), Kut (Wasit province), and Nasiriyah (Dhi Qar province). Additional related protests and clashes are likely in Basra and other major cities in the coming days and weeks.
A heightened security presence, as well as associated transportation and business disruptions, are to be expected around demonstration sites.
Demonstrations broke out in Iraq on October 1, 2019, to protest alleged government corruption, inadequate provision of public services, and a lack of job opportunities. Following weeks of relatively calm demonstrations, violence resumed on October 24-25, coinciding with the deadline issued by Grand Ayatollah Sistani to the government issuing them to produce a report on the members of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) that were responsible for firing at civilians during previous demonstrations. An estimated 670 people have been killed and over 24,400 people have been wounded since the protests began.
Individuals in Baghdad are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all protests as a precaution, anticipate a heightened security presence, budget ample travel time, and obey instructions issued by 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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