"It is devastating and painful, and even shameful, that acts of violence by outlaws have led to the death of over 600 innocent peaceful protesters, mostly young people, as well as many security personnel. Needless to say, I condemn these crimes in the strongest terms, and the perpetrators sooner or later will have to be dealt with in accordance with the law", Salih said.
The rallies led to Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi's decision to resign last November. However, he remains in office in a caretaker capacity until a replacement is found. Salih submitted his resignation last December.
Iraq has been facing nationwide protests since October. The Iraqi people took to the streets demanding the ouster of the government, as well as economic reforms, better living conditions, social welfare and an end to corruption.