Teachers and civil servants in the Kurdistan Region are demanding delayed wages. Photo: Rudaw video
In Qaladze, security forces have ended the protests and arrested four men between the ages of 20 and 30 for setting fire to tires.
The young men who were arrested are not teachers, the mayor of Qaladze told Rudaw.
Teachers were given permission by the authorities to demonstrate but other groups have not been given authorization to participate in the protests.
Demonstrations in Halabja and Saiyd Sadiq have ended.
A Rudaw cameraman has been beaten by Raniya security forces during coverage of the protests in the city.
Some protesters in Ranya, 100 kilometres east of Erbil, broke off from the main demonstration and headed to the town’s municipality building and the Kurdistan Democratic Party’s (KDP) branch but they were stopped by security forces.
“We want to be in front of the municipal building and Raparin administration. We warn the security forces not to stop us, otherwise violence will occur,” an angry protester warned.
In Qaladze district, 125 kilometres west of Erbil, protesters have started burning tires.
University and school teachers have taken to the streets in several cities and towns across the Kurdistan Region on Tuesday, as planned, in protest over reduced salaries and delayed payments to teachers.
Teachers and civil servants in Sulaimani poured into the streets early in the morning protesting the delay of their wages and the economic crisis which has engulfed the region for two and a half years.
The demonstration is simultaneously taking place in many other areas in the Kurdistan Region including Halabja, Ranya, Kalar, and Koye.
In Sulaimani, protesters are carrying slogans with messages to the government: “You forced us to stop work. If you cannot pay salaries, resign."
In Halabja, teachers have gathered in the streets urging the government to provide the salaries and rights of teachers, otherwise they threaten to strike.
Security forces have been deployed in Ranya around the protesting teachers.
The teachers’ action coincides with what was to be the first day of the new school year, September 27. However, the education ministry announced Monday night that schools will not be opened until October 1st.
In Duhok, teachers visited Peshmerga frontlines assuring the soldiers that the delay in paying their wages will not affect them and they will not prevent the opening of schools in order not to deprive children of the Peshmerga from studying.
As part of a reform package to revive the economy and offset the colossal budget deficit, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) introduced unprecedented austerity measures that virtually mean suspension of all larger government-backed investment projects and reduction of wages for state employees, whose number is well above 1.3 million.
The KRG has said it will pay back the outstanding amount of the reduced salaries in the future when oil prices rise or the economy stabilizes, something the teachers have rejected.