A group of people gathered in the city of Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), on Saturday to protest against Turkey’s latest military campaign in KRI, and against the complicity of the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) with the Turkish attacks.
Representatives of various local and international NGOs also participated in the demonstration in which people chanted slogans such as: ‘Erdoğan is a terrorist’, and ‘Turkish forces out of Kurdistan.’
Speaking to a Medya News reporter, Srusht Halabjay who is a lawyer, stressed that neither the Iraqi government, nor the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) have yet condemned the Turkish attacks.
“We are here to tell both governments that we won’t be silent in the face of an occupation even if you choose to be,” she said.
The protestors also condemned KDP’s assistance and complicity in the invasion.
“We want to tell the world that we have a different opinion and reaction concerning the invasion than the KRG. The three top officials of Kurdistan are silent, meaning that they are part of this invasion. They must abandon their interests with Turkey, which made them choose to remain silent.” former MP Dr Sherko Hama Amin said.
Then, as the protestors headed towards the Public Gardens to read out their demands, they were stopped by the police.
Although the peaceful protestors did not make any attempt to move past the police barricade, they were brutally attacked by the police with rubber bullets and tear gas.
Many protestors were injured.
The organisers said that they were attacked despite having permission from the police, and that the administrations of Turkey and Iran were behind the lawless attack on the demonstration.
Co-chair of Tevgera Azadî (Kurdistan Free Society Movement), Tara Hussein, said:
“The local authorities of Sulaymaniyah gave permission for the demonstration, but cancelled it and attacked us. Why? Who benefits from this course of action? This shows the local authorities do not actually have any power. They receive instructions from Ankara and Tehran.”