The EU on Thursday voiced concern over ongoing protests in Iraq, saying use of force against protestors is “deplorable”.
“Despite repeated calls for restraint, there has been further loss of lives, a great number of injured and destruction of public and private property.
“The excessive use of force against protestors is deplorable,” EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement.
Mogherini said over the past month, the people of Iraq have exercised their fundamental rights, which needs to be respected in line with the Iraqi constitution.
“The reported attacks by armed entities against demonstrators undermine the right to peaceful assembly and the expression of legitimate demands.
“The European Union expects perpetrators of all violations to be held accountable,” she added.
The bloc also reiterated willingness to support Iraq in its work to address the citizens’ demands.
At least 260 people have been killed and thousands injured in a second wave of protests in Iraq since last week against deep-seated corruption, unemployment and lack of basic services.
More than 230 people have been killed in a first wave of anti-government protests in October.
Popular anger has been simmering in Iraq in recent years due to rising unemployment and rampant corruption. Many people in the country have limited access to basic services such as electricity and clean water.
According to World Bank figures, Iraq’s youth unemployment is around 25%. It also ranks the 12th most-corrupt country in the world according to several transparency organizations.
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