International Al-Quds Day will be celebrated on Friday, June 23, in many Shi'a Muslim communities. Rallies are expected, as Shi'as typically gather on this day to hold anti-Israel protests, condemning Israel's treatment of Palestinians. Rallies could turn violent and take the form of generalized protests against the West.
The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) is set to lead the rallies within Nigeria. The IMN is likely to march as well for the release of its leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky. Zakzaky has been imprisoned since a December 2015 raid on his compound by government forces.
Al-Quds Day was initiated by Iran in 1979 in opposition to Israel's Jerusalem Day. Iran sponsors Al-Quds Day rallies and protests in both Muslim-majority and non-Muslim-majority countries. It falls every year on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan.
While the IMN has called for a peaceful march, travelers are advised to avoid the area of the demonstrations as clashes between protesters and police cannot be ruled out. Traffic disruptions and increased security measures are to be expected in the vicinity of the protests.
Generally speaking, the security environment in Nigeria is complex and is particularly concerning in the northeast and extreme south of the country due to the presence of armed groups, high crime rates, and the risk of kidnapping. Some Western governments consequently advise against travel to certain areas of the northeast (e.g. states of Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Bauchi, and Jigawa as well as parts of Kano and Adamawa states) and the southern Niger Delta region (e.g. states of Delta, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, and Rivers). Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel to these areas.
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