The local security forces in Erbil on Tuesday (April 26) attacked a Peregraf reporter who was covering a demonstration against Turkish military operations in the Kurdistan Region.
The protest was held in front of the United Nations offices in the city and organized by leftist groups.
"At the beginning of the demonstration, the security forces attacked me, took my cell phone and microphone and didn't let me cover the demonstration," said Peregraf reporter Farman Sadiq.
"The demonstrators protected me and did not allow me to be beaten and a demonstrator was beaten," Sadiq added.
The security forces were in uniform, which identified them as members of the Asayish Movement Section.
After a time, Sadiq’s equipment was returned and he was allowed to cover the demonstration. The security forces did not justify their initial interreference or explain why they had changed their stance.
The security forces attempted to interfere with coverage by other outlets, but eventually backed off as the demonstration grew.
Peregraf condemns the behavior of the Erbil security forces, their attack on the media, and the attempt to prevent coverage of a protest in violation of the law and the rights of journalists.
Video showing the moment that a Peregraf reporter was attacked by the local security forces in Erbil and prevented from covering a protest
Earlier this month, Turkey began Operation Claw-Lock, launching cross-border air and ground attacks in northern Duhok governorate in violation of Iraqi sovereignty. Their stated objective was to combat the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which controls Erbil governorate and the local security forces, has close political, economic, and security relations with Turkey and is extremely sensitive to criticism of Turkish actions.