TEHRAN, Feb. 13 (Press Shia Agency) – The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq is concerned that demonstrations in Baghdad yesterday resulted in casualties among protestors but, as reported, also among security forces.

UNAMI notes the statement of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in which he affirmed the right of citizens to demonstrate peacefully while abiding by the law and acknowledged the Government’s responsibility to protect demonstrators while protecting the safety and security of citizens.

The right of freedom of peaceful assembly is the cornerstone of democracy and must be respected and protected by citizens, Government, and security forces at all times and in all circumstances. Citizens have the right to express their opinion, to request reforms and changes, and to have their voices heard – but they must do so peacefully and in full compliance with the law. The Government an.d Security Forces must respect and protect the right of citizens to stage peaceful public protests and must act with restraint.

UNAMI further welcomes Prime Minister Abadi’s institution of a public inquiry into yesterday’s tragic events and to establish what took place.