Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo spoke in November of the natural hunger for liberty and “our responsibility to assist those people around the world who are seeking that human freedom.”
In Venezuela, Iran and elsewhere, citizens of corrupt or oppressive regimes are demanding governments recognize their unalienable rights and fundamental freedoms. These photographs illustrate the indomitability of the human spirit as it strives to be free.
Nurses, teachers and students took to the streets of Venezuela in November to fight for their democratic rights and reject the illegitimate Maduro regime. Secretary Pompeo expressed in October the United States’ desire to work with allies and partners “to restore human rights and democracy in Venezuela, a critical objective that reflects the United States’ commitment to human rights and freedom.”
University students chant during a protest in Caracas, Venezuela, on November 21 calling on the military to abandon Nicolás Maduro and join their fight to end the nation’s crisis.
Iraqis are demonstrating against government corruption and lack of basic services. Following a government crackdown on protesters in November, Pompeo emphasized that peaceful public demonstrations are a fundamental element of all democracies and urged Iraq’s leadership to take immediate steps to address the protesters’ legitimate grievances by enacting reforms and tackling corruption.
People rush an injured protester to a hospital during clashes between Iraqi security forces and anti-government demonstrators in Baghdad on November 15.
A woman reacts to tear gas fired by the Iraqi security forces during a protest in downtown Baghdad on November 15.
In Iran, the government’s decision to drastically increase gas prices has sparked nationwide protests, with reports of hundreds of civilian deaths during the crackdown. The Iranian regime also imposed an unprecedented, near-total internet shutdown in an attempt to conceal its brutality from the world. The White House condemned “the lethal force and severe communications restrictions used against demonstrators.”
“Tehran has fanatically pursued nuclear weapons and missile programs, and supported terrorism, turning a proud nation into another cautionary tale of what happens when a ruling class abandons its people and embarks on a crusade for personal power and riches,” the White House said.
Cars block a street during a November 16 protest against a rise in gasoline prices, in the central city of Isfahan, Iran.
Protesters gather around a burning motorcycle during a demonstration in Isfahan on November 16.