On December 22, thousands of Kurds took at the street in the city of Sulaymaniyah in northern Iraq to protest the corruption in the Kurdistan Region Government (KRG) for the fifth day in a row. The protest was led by three leaders of the Change Movement (Goran), according to local sources.
The Kurdish Asayesh and security forces of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) targeted the protestors with tear gas and allegedly opened live fire at protestors. Iraqi sources claimed that several protestors, including the three leaders of Goran were injured and many others were arrested during the clashes.
Goran leaders demanded the immediate release of over 200 protestors who were detained by the KRG’s security forces in Sulaymaniyah over the last five days. Dozens of protestors were also arrested in other areas of the Kurdistan Region.
In a related development, the pro-KRG Rudaw TV revealed on December 22 that KRG Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani has been in Sulaymaniyah for several days now trying to put an end to the protests there.
“He [Qubad] will stay in Sulaymaniyah until the situation is back to normal,” a KRG official told Rudaw.
As a part of his effort to control the crisis in Sulaymaniyah, Qubad headed two meetings of security forces in the city on December 21. Sulaymaniyah city governor Haval Abubakir attended both of the meetings, according to Rudaw.
Qubad mission will likely fail if the KRG insists on dealing with the ongoing protests with force, instead of starting a dialogue to solve all of its problems.