The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad strongly denounces the brutal assault in the holy city of Najaf on February 5 that led to the killing and wounding of peaceful demonstrators. It is reprehensible that armed groups continue to be permitted to violate Iraq’s rule of law with impunity against peaceful citizens practicing their democratic right to freedom of expression, including demands for political and economic reform.
The Government of Iraq and its Security Forces have an obligation to put an end to this thuggery, which includes the kidnapping and assassination of civil activists and journalists, as well as beatings, use of live fire, and the burning of tents at peaceful demonstrations. We call on the Iraqi government to put an end to these criminal practices and bring the perpetrators to justice.
We salute the peaceful protestors for their admirable restraint in the face of these murderous tactics and urge them to maintain the peaceful nature of their demonstrations. The United States fully supports their fundamental democratic right to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression.