US Calls for Early Elections, End to Violence in Iraq
In the wake of the government crackdown on anti-government protests across Iraq, in which security forces have killed around 300 demonstrators and injured nearly 15,000, the US has called on Iraq’s government to employ restraint in dealing with the protesters, remove restrictions on internet access, implement electoral reforms, and hold early elections. The demonstrations, which began on October 1 and have escalated in waves, are protesting against government corruption, lack of services, sectarianism, unemployment, and foreign – particularly Iranian – influence on the country. They are believed to be the largest demonstrations in Iraq since the fall of President Saddam Hussein in 2003. The US wants “the Iraqi government to halt the violence against protesters and fulfil President [Barham] Saleh’s promise to pass electoral reform and hold early elections,” the White House said in a statement Sunday.