DAMASCUS, SYRIA (09:55 PM) – Heavy protests against the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in Iraqi Kurdistan have entered their fourth consecutive day, as hundreds of protesters have clashed with security units all over the region.
The demonstrations, demanding the resignation of notoriously corrupt politicians in the Kurdish regional administration, have been met with fierce violence by KRG forces, resulting in several casualties on Tuesday. Extra reinforces were deployed to the city of Suleymaniyah on Wednesday to crack down on the protests. Over 20 officers of KRG political party and a town hall have been set ablaze according to reports.
The protests broke out on Monday, out of frustration with the rapid deterioration of basic services in the region, all-pervasive corruption in the regional government and the lack of salary payment for public service workers, with some teachers and hospital workers complaining they haven’t been properly paid in years.
Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi has warned the Regional Government that the central government in Baghdad will not stand idly by and accept continued violence being perpetrated by the KRG. Relations between Baghdad and Erbil have been strained ever since an unconstitutional independence vote was held by Kurdish authorities on September 25. In response, the Iraqi government retook the Arab city of Kirkuk from Kurdish occupation forces, leading the KRG to lose the majority of its oil revenues.