Following the deaths of protesters in clashes with the Iraqi army over the weekend, and deaths and reported kidnappings of Iraqi soldiers, Foreign Office Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt said:
“I was deeply shocked and concerned to learn of the deaths of protestors in Iraq’s Anbar Province during clashes with the Iraqi Army on Friday, as well as the subsequent deaths and reported kidnappings of Iraqi soldiers. We welcome the Iraqi Government’s announcement that it will launch a full investigation into these incidents and encourage Iraqi authorities to put in place a thorough and transparent process immediately. We call on all sides to exercise restraint and avoid escalating tensions further.
“For over a month, the protests that have taken place across Iraq have done so in a largely peaceful manner, in accordance with the democratic rights of the Iraqi people. The British Government supports the right of the Iraqi people to assembly, and the right to freedom of expression.
“We urge all political blocs to act in the interests of all Iraqis by participating in serious dialogue to find lasting solutions to the legitimate demands of those protesting across Iraq, within the boundaries of the Iraqi constitution.”