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.
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.
Muqtada al-Sadr, a Shi’a cleric leader, regularly calls for protests in Baghdad, demanding that the government reform the electoral commission ahead of the 2018 elections. Such protests in February 2017 developed into violent clashes, leaving five dead and dozens wounded.
Individuals in Iraq are advised to avoid any form of protest or public gathering, to monitor the situation closely, and to expect traffic disruptions.