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 Anti-government protests in Sulaimaniyah, Iraqi Kurdistan, 2 killed, 47 wounded

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Anti-government protests in Sulaimaniyah, Iraqi Kurdistan, 2 killed, 47 wounded  17.2.2011  
Ekurd.net


 

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Kurdish protesters throw stones at the headquarters of KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party) of regional president Massoud Barzani, in Sulaimaniyah. Feb 17, 2011. Photo: hawlati


Kurdish protester injured by a bullet shot by Kurdish security in Sulaimaniyah. Feb 17, 2011. Photo: hawlati


Kurdish protesters chanted, "Government resign", "Work for the unemployed" and "The corrupt must face justice". Photo: hawlati
Kurds protest in Sulaimaniyah, at least two people killed, 47 wounded; Gorran leader left scene, reports say. A night curfew has been declared in Sulaimaniyah, until 7:00 am

February 17, 2011


SULAIMANIYAH, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', (Ekurd.net)— Nearly 3,000 people, the majority of them younger than 30, had been marching towards the headquarters of the KDP and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) of Iraqi president Jalal Talabani, the two parties that have lorded over the autonomous region for decades.

Initial report by Hawalti, an independent Kurdish newspaper, said so far 2 people have been killed in the clashes between the protesters and the security forces. The police fired live ammunition at youths throwing stones at the headquarters of the region's dominant political party, the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP), witnesses said. 
 

"We have received two dead bodies, both of which received gunshots, and are treating more than 47 other people," said the doctor in Sulaimaniyah province's health department, on condition of anonymity, AFP reported.

While on the way to the two parties' offices, the protesters chanted, "Government resign", "Work for the unemployed" and "The corrupt must face justice".

"This is Tahrir Square. Do you remember Mubarak?" protesters chanted, referring to the Egyptian uprising.

The demonstrators began throwing stones at the two buildings, which lie near each other in the centre of Sulaimaniyah, and then attempted to storm the KDP headquarters.

The local security Asayish forces and policemen have taken positions on the street.

A night curfew has been declared in Sulaimaniyah, until 7:00 am.

According to Kurdish websites the KDP followers has occupied the Gorran's headquarters in Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan region. Hawlati reported that the building of Gorran headquarters located at Erbil 99 set on fire, also the headquarters of Gorran has been attacked and looted by KDP followers in Duhok city.

The protesters had been attempting to storm the local offices of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) of regional president Massoud Barzani when security forces fired into the air in a bid to disperse the crowd.

An informed source said Nawshirwan Mustafa, the leader of the Kurdish opposition of Gorran (Change) Movement has left Sulaimaniyah for the bordering areas with Iran.

The source told the pro-KDP Payamner news website it is two days since Nawshirwan Mustafa has left Sulaimaniyah, the second largest city in the Kurdistan Region where the headquarters of the party is located. The leader is reported to be in Penjwin, a Kurdish district bordering with Iran.

The source further alleged since February the leader has twice met with the Iranian officials on the border.

The website alludes to some reports in Sulaimaniyah which state fearing that in case of any rise in the tensions during the protest,
www.ekurd.netGorran headquarter will be the first place to be targeted by the Kurdish security forces, Mustafa has left Sulaimaniyah.

In a recent statement Gorran called for resolving the current Kurdistan parliament and cabinet to give way for restaging the general elections.

Moments after the call, Rozhnama, the only newspaper of the opposition party reported, tanks were positioned facing Gorran headquarters.

Currently, the police forces are deployed in Sulaimaniyah where Gorran enjoys its greatest public support. Tension looms over the city amid the mass of protesters.

Gorran enjoys wide support in Kurdistan region. It's emerged in regional elections in 2009 as a rival to the two main ruling Kurdish parties and won 25 seats in the parliament. 

 

Gorran is challenging Talabani's PUK (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan), and the KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party), of regional president Massoud Barzani and accuses the parties of corruption.

It’s headed by the former senior PUK-leader Nawshirwan Mustafa, who was Talabani’s deputy until 2007. Since the July 2009 elections in which it secured almost a third of the seats of 111-member Parliament of Kurdistan.

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