The United States has called on the Iraqi government to investigate the recent violence in Iraq and hold accountable those who attempt to brutally silence peaceful protesters in a statement on Monday.
Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker said that US has been closely monitoring developments in Iraq, and called on the Iraqi government to respect the rights of the Iraqi people.
Schenker added, “the Iraqi people are calling for genuine reform and for trustworthy leaders that will put Iraq’s national interests first and the use of excessive force over the weekend in Nasiriyah was shocking and abhorrent.“
“I believe that, to date, over 400 Iraqis have been killed,” he stated.
On 28 November, nearly 40 people have been killed in Iraq on one of the bloodiest days since anti-government protests began last month. At least 25 people died when security forces opened fire to clear bridges in the southern city of Nasiriya.
Last week, the US embassy in Baghdad said that the shutdown of nine television channels are not consistent with the Iraqi Government’s duty to uphold freedom of expression, and called on the Iraqi authorities to stop the harassment and intimidation of journalists.
It also asserted that the US government continues to support Iraq’s security, stability, and sovereignty.
The current wave of protests is the biggest crisis facing the Iraqi government since IS took control of large swathes of the country in 2014.
Protesters are demanding jobs, fighting corruption, and denouncing the deterioration of public services in their oil-rich countries.
Negotiations are under way between political parties and parliamentary blocs to appoint a successor to outgoing Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, who resigned on Sunday in response to the call of the Shiite Cleric Ali Al-Sistani, who demanded a new government after the bloody clashes between protesters and security services.