Mr Mike Pompeo, U.S. Secretary of State, has in a statement yesterday evening reacted to the killing of eight protesters in Iraq yesterday.
Pompeo called on the Iraqi government to take immediate steps to persecute those responsible for the death in a bid to address the protesters’ legitimate grievances.
The eight protesters were killed when supporters of a radical cleric, Moqtada al-Sadr, stormed an anti-government protest camp in the southern city of Najaf.
He told Iraq government to bring justice to the “militias, thugs and vigilante groups” ” in Najaf and other cities for attacks against Iraqis “exercising their right to peaceful protest”.
Naija News understands that no fewer 20 persons were wounded in the violence, which followed attempts by the al-Sadr’s supporters to clear the camp
Pompeo lamented that since the uprising in the state no fewer than 600 protestors had been killed and thousands injured
He said: “We are outraged by the violence perpetrated in the city of Najaf on Feb. 5 that led to the killing and wounding of peaceful demonstrators.
“Since October of last year, peaceful demonstrators have taken to the streets to urge government reform.
“They have been met with threats, brutal violence, and live fire attacks. It is unconscionable that the perpetrators continue to act with impunity.
“Political figures, who incite this violence and government leaders, who fail to take steps to protect rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly must be held to account.
“The Government of Iraq should immediately address the protesters legitimate grievances by enacting reforms and tackling corruption.
“To the courageous Iraqi people seeking reform and a government free of corruption and Iranian meddling, we offer Americas continued friendship and support.
“We reaffirm the United States enduring commitment to the Iraqi people and a strong, sovereign, and prosperous Iraq,” Pompeo added.