In a statement on its website, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) expressed on Wednesday deep concern over violence in Iraqi Kurdistan region, saying “is deeply concerned about the violence and the reported casualties during demonstrations in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) in the last two days, and calls for restraint and calm on all sides”. It stressed that people have the right to participate in peaceful demonstrations, and the authorities in KRI have the responsibility of protecting their citizens, including peaceful protesters. KRI security forces also are urged to exercise maximum restraint dealing with the demonstrators. UNAMI also exhorted demonstrators to avoid any act of violence, including the destruction of public and private properties. The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq urged the authorities to respect and protect the media, after NRT TV was ordered to suspend its broadcasts because of the content of its reporting on the demonstrations. “The Mission urges the media to abide by the law, while emphasizing the critical role of free and impartial media in any democratic society”, the statement concluded. Several media reported that Kurdish forces have launched a wide-scale arrest campaign in Sulaymaniyah to silence demonstrators, who have protested since Monday because of delayed salary payments and poor services.
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