WASHINGTON - As anti-government demonstrators in Islamabad dug in, the United States Thursday appealed to all sides to exercise restraint and respect the rule of law.

“We have been carefully monitoring the demonstrations in Islamabad. We continue to urge all sides to refrain from violence, exercise restraint, respect the rule of law,” State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters at the daily press briefing.

Questioned about the ongoing PTI and PAT marches in Islamabad, the spokesperson also noted that “peaceful protests and freedom of expression are of course important aspects of democracy.”

“That certainly is the message we are conveying,” she added.