UN chief urges restraint as global protests unfurl

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Secretary-General António Guterres is responding to the recent wave of street protests in many countries with a reminder that freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are fundamental rights — and an appeal to security forces to act with "maximum restraint."

U.N. spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said Friday the secretary-general stresses that upholding the rights to free expression and peaceful assembly are "bedrocks of our society" and are "crucial for advancing democracy, development and peace."

He pointed to protests in countries including Ecuador, Hong Kong and South Africa as well as Iraq where demonstrations have left 42 people dead.

Guterres called on protesters to refrain from violence and urged law enforcement officials to respond in conformity with international human rights standards.

He asked all countries to uphold human rights.