The recent wave of protests in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), mainly in Sulaimanyah and Halabja provinces, has been clamped down by security forces. In many towns clashed were reported, six protesters and two from security forces have been killed, tens were injured.
Protests over unpaid salaries and corruption spread to at least 20 towns near Sulaimanyah, with angry crowds setting ablaze political parties' headquarters and local government buildings.
Four protesters were killed in Chamchamal, Takiya, Said Sadiq and Darbandikhan; another two were shot dead in Kifri. Also a guard of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) Headquarters killed in Penjwen. Another Peshmerga died of "a stroke" while dispersing protestors blocking the Dukan-Sulaimanyah road, even though there were conflicting reports over his actual cause of death.
The demonstrations initially started on December 2, in the city of Sulaimanyah when a pressure group teachers gathered Sara Square in Sulaimanyah to demand the payment of unpaid salaries. However, in the next days, the protests turned violent and spread in dozens of towns of Kurdistan Region.
Apart from some small attempts to stage demonstrations in Shiladze and Qasre, the recent protest wave did not reach the KDP-controlled area, but tens have been arrested as they intended to protest. Also from August a wave of arresting have started been started and tens of activists and journalists arrested, still dozens are in jail.
This round of protests, center around anger over economic woes and the KRG's decisions to delay and cut public sector salaries, lack of job prospects for young people and basic public services.
The protests were mainly unorganized and leaderless. The prime minister of KRG, Masrour Barzani, gave a speech in which he accused "external forces" of infiltrating protests.
On December 11, a group of former lawmakers, intellectuals and activists formed a group called "The Congress of Dissatisfied Voices" and called for the continuation of the protests, all of whom were arrested, and released days after.
Since December 12, no significant protests in Kurdistan Region have been reported as tens of protests have been jailed, and a large number of security forces were deployed in most of the towns to prevent any anti-government gathering.