By John Lee.
The United States has said it is outraged that peaceful demonstrators who took to the streets to urge reform were met with threats and brutal violence.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the US State Department added:
"Moreover, the violation of Iraqi sovereignty and rule of law by armed militias harms all Iraqis and their country.
"We welcome every effort by the government to hold accountable the militias, thugs, and vigilante groups for their attacks against Iraqis exercising their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly as well as for their assault on the rule of law.
"We reaffirm the U.S. government's enduring commitment to the Iraqi people and a strong, sovereign, and prosperous Iraq."
(Source: US State Department)