New protests in Iraqi Kurdistan as residents seethe at authorities

A picture taken on December 20, 2017 shows security forces riding in a vehicle as they chase down demonstrators in a street in the city of Raniya, 130 kilometres north of Sulaymaniyah in the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan region, as protests against political corruption raged for a third day despite a clampdown by security forces after five people were killed. (AFP)
Updated 23 December 2017

New protests in Iraqi Kurdistan as residents seethe at authorities

SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq: Demonstrators irate at the authorities in Iraqi Kurdistan took to the streets for a fifth day Friday, demanding the release of more than 200 protesters detained over violent rallies that have roiled the region.
Furious locals have torched the offices of the autonomous region’s main political parties in a string of towns since Monday as ire boiled over at the calamitous fallout from an independence referendum.
September’s overwhelming vote in favor of breaking away drew stinging reprisals from the central government that have battered Iraqi Kurdistan’s already flagging economy and fired anger over official graft.
“Down with the government of the corrupt, no to corruption!” protesters in the town of Shamshamal, some 70 kilometers (45 miles) south of the region’s second city Sulaimaniyah, chanted.
Protesters gathered in the town of Rania to demand that the “killers have to be brought to justice” after five demonstrators were shot dead there by security forces on Tuesday.
In Sulaimaniyah itself, police shot in the air and fired tear gas to disperse dozens of protesters calling for the release of those detained over the rallies.
Some 200 people have been arrested in the city alone since the protests began, while dozens have been held in other towns, activists from the Goran political party said.
The eruption of anger at the political elite in Kurdistan has caused turmoil for the authorities, with Goran and the Kurdistan Islamic Group party withdrawing from the regional government.
In the wake of September’s independence referendum rejected by the central authorities, Baghdad seized back disputed oil-rich regions from the Kurds in a move that gutted their finances.
Veteran Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani, who pressed ahead with the vote despite international opposition, announced he was standing down in October.
Prime minister Nechirvan Barzani, his nephew, has promised to hold postponed elections in the region in the coming months.


Saudi Arabia, other Middle East countries warn citizens after protests erupt in Lebanon

Updated 18 October 2019

Saudi Arabia, other Middle East countries warn citizens after protests erupt in Lebanon

  • Saudi Arabia and Egypt called on citizens to avoid protest areas
  • Kuwait’s embassy in Lebanon asked citizens wishing to travel to Lebanon to postpone their plans

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Lebanon called on its citizens to avoid places where protests are taking place in the country on Friday. 

The Kingdom’s embassy in Beirut advised its nationals to take care and to “stay away from places of protest,” Al-Ekhbariya news channel reported. 

Egypt’s embassy in the Lebanese capital Beirut also called on its nationals in the country to avoid protest areas, Egyptian state news agency MENA said.

“The embassy calls on all Egyptian citizens in Lebanon to avoid the areas of gatherings and protests, to be careful in their movements and to abide by the instructions of the Lebanese authorities in this regard,” MENA said.

Meanwhile, Kuwait’s embassy in Lebanon asked citizens wishing to travel to Lebanon to wait because of the current protests and unrest.

“The embassy also calls on citizens currently in Lebanon to take utmost care and stay away from crowds and demonstrations,” the embassy said in its tweet.

Protesters across Lebanon blocked roads with burning tires on Friday and thousands marched in Beirut, calling on the government to resign over an economic crisis.