Following a tenuous lull, demonstration activity resumed outside major IOC sites in Basra Province. On the morning of 20 February, security personnel imposed elevated security measures in the vicinity of the Burjisiyah gate at the Zubayr Oil Field in preparation for a scheduled demonstration. Subsequently, hundreds of individuals demonstrated and demanded employment opportunities and called upon the central government to fulfill previously outlined promises concerning employment with the oil sector. Later that morning, the demonstration dispersed after protester’s demands were received by an Oil Police officer. Several protesters threatened to conduct an open sit-in outside the Zubayr Oil Field if their demands were not by 27 February.
The 20 February demonstration forms the first event reported outside the Zubayr Oil Field since 13 August 2018, an incident which coincided with significant demonstration activity reported throughout Basra Province. It must be noted that a small-scale protest was reported in the Burjisiyah area on 18 February, comprising a number of drivers demanding a wage increase equal to other departments. The demonstration later dispersed once a local official received protester’s demands. Since the beginning of 2019, 44 demonstrations have been reported in Basra Province, with the vast majority reported outside the new Basra Governorate Building. It remains to be seen whether additional demonstrations will form outside major IOC sites in the short-term, as the fundamental issues which incited violent protest during 2018 become increasingly apparent as the summer approaches.