Protests in Iraq: ‘De-escalate’ urges UN chief, rise above differences


In a statement released late Saturday night, the UN chief called on all relevant actors “to take immediate steps to de-escalate the situation, avoid further violence and ensure the protection of peaceful demonstrators and state institutions.”

Freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are fundamental rights – UN chief

For the second time in a week, protesters stormed parliament in Baghdad on Saturday, breaching the highly secured Green Zone and injuring more than 120 people, news media reported.

Problem at hand

After nine months of a political deadlock that has prevented the formation of a new government, hundreds of people broke into parliament for the first time on Wednesday.

According to news reports, the unrest has been sparked by supporters of Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr — whose bloc won the majority of seats last October and who opposes the nomination of a pro-Iranian rival candidate for prime minister.

Respect the fundamental rights

Mr Guterres noted that “freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are fundamental rights that must be respected at all times”.

“The Secretary-General urges all parties and actors to: rise above their differences and form, through peaceful and inclusive dialoguean effective national government that will be able to meet long-standing demands for reform without further delay,” the statement concluded.

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