People celebrate with the Kurdistan flag at Kirkuk castle during Newroz events. File photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The major Kurdish parties in Kirkuk have announced that they will raise the Flag of Kurdistan in the city for Halabja, Newroz, and other Kurdish events.
"We will celebrate events and festivities in the Kirkuk province, and ask the people of Kirkuk to participate warmly in Newroz, the March anniversary and Halabja's [genocidal chemical attack anniversary] and to celebrate all events with the sacred flag of Kurdistan in the Kirkuk city,” Rawand Mala Mahmoud, deputy supervisor of PUK’s office in Kirkuk, said at a press conference.
The parties collectively decided to hoist the Kurdistan flag on March 20.
The statement came after all the major Kurdish parties met at the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan’s (PUK) politburo headquarters in Kirkuk. The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) did not attend, as its officials do not deem the city to be safe enough to return.
The Kurdish parties want the security situation of Kirkuk to be normalized.
“We emphasize for the rule of law reign and for the central government implement the constitution. We will not accept any unconstitutional and forceful acts,” Mahmoud added.
This comes amid restrictions and prohibition of the hoisting of the Kurdistan flag over schools, party buildings and other places. Posters commemorating fallen Peshmerga have also been torn down.
"Unfortunately, as I know now, the Hashd al-Shaabi has informed the Kurdistani parties of Kirkuk that they cannot hoist the Kurdistan flag in any celebration publicly in the city. This is very frustrating,” Najmaldin Karim, the ousted Kurdish governor of Kirkuk told Rudaw.
Karim lamented the current situation, adding that previously he would usually join the people of Kirkuk on the Kurdish Clothes Day, a day also commemorated by the other components of the city.
Federal police and authorities prevented Kurdish students in the Kirkuk University to celebrate the Kurdish clothes day on March 8.
The Kurdish parties, however, want to address these violations and meet with officials to discuss these violations. The Kurdish parties want to summon Rakan al-Jabouri, the interim Sunni Arab governor of Kirkuk, to a meeting.
“He should be summoned for a meeting to discuss with him publicly and honestly the points that violate the rights of the Kurds legally and constitutionally and to also hold a meeting with the supervisor of Kirkuk's security to discuss with him all the points honestly," Mawlud Rasoul, head of the Kurdistan Islamic Union’s office in Kirkuk, told Rudaw.
Interim Governor Jabouri has ordered the eviction
of Kurdish neighborhoods under the pretext of the houses not being official. He has also given orders to allow for Arabs brought during the Arabization process into Kirkuk to return to lands of Kurdish owners.
Kurds have complained of this being another Arabization.
Iraqi forces supported by Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitaries took control of the city on October 16.
KDP and Karim have dubbed the city occupied and sold out. KDP has decided to boycott elections in the city.
Karim defiantly ordered Kurdistan’s flag to be raised alongside the Iraqi one last March. He defended the decision, noting Kirkuk's special status in the Iraqi constitution.
Kirkuk city is a disputed or Kurdistani city claimed by both Baghdad and Erbil.