By Diyar Guldogan
ANKARA (AA) – The European Union on Thursday called on Iraq to exercise maximum restraint amid the ongoing protests.
"The EU expects the Iraqi security forces to exercise maximum restraint in the handling of the protests, and protesters to keep protests peaceful," the EU Commission said in a statement.
It said the statement issued by Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi which affirms the right to protest peacefully and freedom of expression while acknowledging the protestors' legitimate demands "goes in the right direction."
"The EU supports the launch of an investigation into the events, which needs to be credible and swift," it added.
The statement came after at least 21 people have been killed in anti-government protests across Iraq which began on Tuesday to demand improvement in living conditions and an end to corruption.
"The events in Iraq are further evidence of the urgency to meet the needs and aspirations of the Iraqi people, in particular through credible and effective economic reforms. The EU stands ready to support efforts in this regard," the EU said.
Security forces have opened fire on protesters to disperse them, causing mass casualties.
Iraqi authorities on Thursday imposed an indefinite curfew in Baghdad in a bid to quell the protests.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi army announced curfew in Dhi Qar and Maysan provinces while police directorate in Najaf announced curfew as well.