U.N. calls for restraint as mass protests hit Iraq

Iraqi youth staged mass protests at the Tahrir square in central Baghdad and other areas to express anger about the deteriorating situation in the country.

Baghdad ( – The U.N. has expressed deep concern over violent protests that took place in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities Tuesday, leaving one person dead and 200 injured, including security members.

“The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, expresses grave concern over the violence that accompanied some of the demonstrations in Baghdad and other governorates,” the U.N. said in a press statement Wednesday.

“She calls for calm and deeply regrets the casualties among both the protesters and security forces,” the statement added.

The special representative also reaffirmed the right to protest: “Every individual has the right to speak freely, in keeping with the law.”

Hennis-Plasschaert urged the authorities to exercise restraint in their handling of the protests to ensure the safety of peaceful protesters while upholding law and order and protecting the people, public and private property.

Several Iraqi provinces saw mass protests Tuesday in response to online campaigns to express anger about the deteriorating situation in the country, topped by the lack of services, rampant corruption and high unemployment rates.

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