‘We oppose violent actions, we oppose vandalism, looting, arson’: US on May 9 riots

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DNA

WASHINGTON: The US State Department on Monday supported the right to protest but added that this right should be exercised peacefully, opposing violent actions, looting and arson.

US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller made these comments while addressing a news briefing in Washington.

Responding to a question regarding the May 9 riots, the official said that his country supports freedom of expression in a legitimate way and opposes violent actions.

“We support legitimate, free expression, including the right to protest, the right to peaceful assembly, and we oppose violent actions, we oppose vandalism, looting, arson.”

He said that all the protests should be conducted peacefully and “the governments should deal consistently with the rule of law and free speech”.

The May 9 riots were triggered almost across the country after deposed prime minister Imran Khan’s arrest in the £190 million settlement case last year.

Hundreds of PTI workers and senior leaders were put behind bars for their involvement in violence and attacks on military installations.

During the protests, the miscreants targeted the civil and military installations including — Jinnah House and the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi.

The military termed May 9 “Black Day” and decided to try the protesters under the Army Act.

War on terror

Meanwhile, acknowledging Pakistan’s unmatched sacrifices and contributions in the war against terrorism, the State Department said that the country “suffered greatly at the hands of terrorists”.

The spokesperson was asked to comment on Defence Minister Khawaja Asif’s statement who had said that Pakistan will continue launching attacks against terrorist groups in Afghanistan as part of a new military campaign and whether the US supports such strikes.

Miller said that they have a shared interest in threats to regional security.

“We partner with a range of Pakistani civilian institutions and regularly engage with the Pakistani government to identify opportunities to build capacity and strengthen regional security, including in our annual high-level counter-terrorism dialogue.”