Six protesters killed amid unrest in Iraq’s Kurdistan region

Six protesters killed amid unrest in Iraq’s Kurdistan region
The headquarters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (PDK) after it was set on fire during anti-government protests on the outskirts of Sulaimaniyah, Iraq, December 8, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 08 December 2020

Six protesters killed amid unrest in Iraq’s Kurdistan region

Six protesters killed amid unrest in Iraq’s Kurdistan region
  • The toll from protests against northern Iraq's Kurdish authorities has risen to six dead
  • Demonstrators have taken to the streets in and around Sulaimaniya for several days

BAGHDAD: The toll from protests against northern Iraq's Kurdish authorities has risen to six dead, medics and officials said Tuesday, as rage swells over delayed public sector salaries and pay cuts.

After a first protester was shot dead in the town of Chamchamal, in Sulaymaniyah Governorate, Kurdistan Region, on Monday afternoon. Another two demonstrators died overnight in deadly rallies in two other districts, according to a local official and the Baghdad-based Iraqi Human Rights Commission.

On Tuesday afternoon, at least three more protesters died in two other locations, local officials, medics and the Commission told AFP.

Protests over unpaid salaries spread on Tuesday to at least six towns near Sulaimaniya, with angry crowds setting ablaze political parties’ headquarters and local government buildings.

Demonstrators have taken to the streets in and around Sulaimaniya for several days, demanding their salaries be paid and criticizing the KDP and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), which controls the Sulaimaniya area.

The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq has condemned the violence which accompanied the Sulaymaniyah protests.

“The right to peaceful protest must be protected and it is imperative that demonstrations remain peaceful. Investigations should commence immediately to identify the perpetrators of the violence and for these persons to be held fully accountable.”

The semi-autonomous Kurdistan region of Iraq has been hit by a nationwide economic crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic, during which Iraq’s oil revenues have sunk.