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Anti-government protests continue across Iraq

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Protest activity continues to dominate headlines in Baghdad. On the evening of 27 October, thousands assembled again in Tahrir Square. Anecdotal reporting from local activists claimed that it was the largest assembly of protestors since the beginning of October. Security forces continued to use tear gas against protestors, causing an unspecified number of injuries. Likely as part of these events, unidentified assailants tossed a Molotov cocktail against security personnel on Jumhuriya Bridge, wounding up to eight ISF members. Another assembly formed at Tahrir Square the following morning. Tear gas was again deployed, but no significant casualties were reported.

Overall, the number of casualties remained limited during the reporting period. ISF reiterated assurances that the use of live ammunition was not authorized during protests. However, the risk of further unrest remains high as tensions are elevated across the province. Given current atmospherics, demonstrations are likely to continue in diverse areas of Baghdad over the near term, with associated impact on traffic and the risk of inadvertent exposure to violence.

Demonstrations were recorded in all provinces of the Southern Region, focusing primarily on provincial capitals. Violent escalations were seen in Karbala province on 27 October, where protesters attempted to torch the Karbala Governorate building, prompting interventions from ISF and Civil Defense units. Protestors reportedly set one firefighter vehicle and two ISF caravans on fire. At least four ISF casualties in addition to an unspecified number of wounded civilians were reported. Additional local reports cited the Badr Organization and Nujaba offices were also torched. Further protests occurred on the morning of 28 October, with temporary disruptions on the Karbala-Baghdad reported.

The situation in Babel province also remains volatile, following the assault on the Badr Organization office in Hilla city on 27 October. Babel Governor Karar Abadi reportedly ordered to evacuate the Badr Organization offices in Hillah in order to reduce tensions and limit the risk of violence. On the evening of 27 October, local reports indicated that protestors set fire to buildings associated with two Badr MPs in Hillah, along with three vehicles. The number of PMF locations torched over the past three days is consistent with earlier assessments that protestors often view PMF officials as responsible for many of the current grievances.

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