The protests that erupted in Baghdad this week and spread to other parts of Iraq and the escalation into violence yesterday reportedly left over a dozen protestors dead and hundreds of people injured. In this context, the EU expects the Iraqi security forces to exercise maximum restraint in the handling of the protests, and protesters to keep protests peaceful.
The statement issued by Prime Minister Abdul Mahdi, affirming the right to peacefully protest and freedom of expression, while acknowledging the protestors' legitimate demands, goes in the right direction. The EU supports the launch of an investigation into the events, which needs to be credible and swift.
The events in Iraq are further evidence of the urgency to meet the needs and aspirations of the Iraqi people, in particular through credible and effective economic reforms.
The EU stands ready to support efforts in this regard.