Reports of unrest throughout Iraq today are disturbing as Iraqi institutions are not being allowed to operate. The United States is concerned about escalating tensions and urges all parties to remain peaceful and refrain from acts that could lead to a cycle of violence. Iraq’s security, stability, and sovereignty should not be put at risk. Now is the time for dialogue to resolve differences, not through confrontation. The right to peaceful public protest is a fundamental element of all democracies, but demonstrators must also respect the institutions and property of the Iraqi government, which belong to and serve the Iraqi people and should be allowed to function.