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Germany, France, UK call on Iraq to keep armed groups away from protest sites

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The embassies of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom in Baghdad have called on the central government to enforce its decision to keep the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) and other armed groups away from locations in central and southern provinces where protests are ongoing.

The ambassadors of France, Germany, and the UK, made the request in a meeting on Sunday with Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi.

The embassies released a joint statement, where the ambassadors “condemned the killing of peaceful Iraqi protesters since Oct. 1, including the killing of over 25 protestors in Baghdad over the weekend.”

They also urged Abdul Mahdi, as the Commander-in-Chief of Iraq’s Armed Forces, to ensure the protection of demonstrators and to “urgently investigate and hold accountable those responsible for the killings.”

The meeting took place after a night of violent crackdowns in Baghdad on Friday night, where unidentified armed individuals killed at least 19 protesters, including three police officers, in stabbings and shootings. They also wounded upward to 70 others.

On Thursday, 15 protesters were stabbed just after PMF supporters joined demonstrations in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, which has been the site of protests since they began in October. The pro-PMF march came after calls by one of the paramilitary group’s most powerful militias, the Kata’ib Hezbollah brigades.

“No armed group should be able to operate outside of the control of the state,” the joint statement emphasized, encouraging the government to enforce its recent decision to prevent the PMF from going near protest locations, and “to hold accountable those who violate this order.”

Since the demonstrations began, over 460 people have died, most of them killed by Iraqi security forces, while 17,400 others have been wounded.dom in Baghdad have called on the central government to enforce its decision to keep the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) and other armed groups away from locations in central and southern provinces where protests are ongoing.

The ambassadors of France, Germany, and the UK, made the request in a meeting on Sunday with Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi.

The embassies released a joint statement, where the ambassadors “condemned the killing of peaceful Iraqi protesters since Oct. 1, including the killing of over 25 protestors in Baghdad over the weekend.”

They also urged Abdul Mahdi, as the Commander-in-Chief of Iraq’s Armed Forces, to ensure the protection of demonstrators and to “urgently investigate and hold accountable those responsible for the killings.”

The meeting took place after a night of violent crackdowns in Baghdad on Friday night, where unidentified armed individuals killed at least 19 protesters, including three police officers, in stabbings and shootings. They also wounded upward to 70 others.

On Thursday, 15 protesters were stabbed just after PMF supporters joined demonstrations in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, which has been the site of protests since they began in October. The pro-PMF march came after calls by one of the paramilitary group’s most powerful militias, the Kata’ib Hezbollah brigades.

“No armed group should be able to operate outside of the control of the state,” the joint statement emphasized, encouraging the government to enforce its recent decision to prevent the PMF from going near protest locations, and “to hold accountable those who violate this order.”

Since the demonstrations began, over 460 people have died, most of them killed by Iraqi security forces, while 17,400 others have been wounded.
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