Protesters in Sulaimani. Photo: Rudaw.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - Tear gas has been fired at protesters in Suliamani who are clashing with police and other demonstrators in an escalating wave of violence triggered by wage demands and dissatisfaction with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
The mass demonstration in Sarra Square in Suliamani on Saturday when hundreds of protesters gathered again to demand three months of unpaid salaries and an end to the current political stalemate that has left the KRG without an official president since August, said Pshtiwan Jamal, Rudaw correspondent in Suliamani.
Jamal said police were standing guard and firing tear gas to prevent protesters from attacking the 4th branch office of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) on Mawlawi Street. Protesters have also surrounded Rudaw's office in Suliamani and borke windows with rocks, said Rudaw staff currently trapped in the building.
Clashes between demonstrators and the police also erupted in the town of Said Sadiq in eastern Sulaimani province.
“Protesters are attacking a Kurdistan Democratic Paarty (KDP) building,” said Rudaw reporter Choman Mahmood in Said Sadiq.
“Due to clashes between pro-KDP members and protesters near the KDP building, 17 people have been wounded from both sides. The scale of the demonstration is getting wider and causing more violence. Pro-KDP members are answering the protesters with stone.”
Mahmood said the the town of Said Sadiq has been divided into two mobs: one calling for the KRG to play the salaries of civil servants, and another group that has seized the opportunity to turn to violence.
Three people were shot dead on Friday in demonstration-related shootings in the township of Qaladze, in northern Sulaimani province, with dozens more wounded.
At least nine people, including five policemen and four demonstrators, were wounded on Thursday in street protests over delayed salaries in Sulaimani, the city’s mayor told Rudaw.