"The British and US government want to present the KRG as a success to legitimise their wars, but here is the reality. There is rising unemployment, the government has no respect for women's rights or workers' rights. People are angry,"
Monday 21 February 2011
by Louise Nousratpour
Dozens of solidarity activists protested outside the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in London today following the recent killing of demonstrators in Iraqi Kurdistan.
The rally ended a 48-hour protest triggered by the tragic events in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region last Thursday.
According to latest reports, up to nine people were killed and dozens injured when the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) opened fire on hundreds of demonstrators who were barricading its premises in Sulaimaniyah and demanding democratic reform.
Inspired by revolutionary events in countries across the Middle East, the protesters wanted an end to government corruption and mass unemployment.
Organisers of today's protest in London warned that the KDP had increased the presence of armed militia in all cities across Kurdistan.
Dashty Jamal of Freedom Umbrella - a coalition of British-based Kurdish organisations and supporters - called on the KRG to release all those arrested during last Thursday's demonstrations and bring the militia responsible for the killings to justice.
"The British and US government want to present the KRG as a success to legitimise their wars, but here is the reality. There is rising unemployment, the government has no respect for women's rights or workers' rights. People are angry," he said.
"Protests have since spread across Iraqi Kurdistan as people call for increased freedom and civil liberties, jobs and an end to political corruption," he said.
"The ruling parties have responded to this by increasing the presence of armed militia in cities
and shooting on more demonstrators and arresting activists."
Refering to KDP rule since 1991, Mr Jamal added: "People in Kurdistan are fed up with 20 years of military dictatorship."