Protesters were blocked by security forces at the Daria bridge (Baghdad governorate) on Sunday, July 12, as they attempted to march on Baghdad to protest recent economic reforms undertaken by the government. A spokesperson for the protesters claims that security forces shot two dead and wounded over a dozen after confrontations broke out; however, these claims were denied by security officials and have not been independently verified.
Further protests, with the potential for clashes between security forces and protesters, are possible in the near term.
Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi announced a series of economic reforms in May as a response to economic difficulties resulting from lower oil prices and the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Among these reforms was the cancellation of more than one monthly compensation payment to those imprisoned during the regime of Saddam Hussein.
Individuals in Iraq 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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