The American Kafir


Exclusive Video of Protests in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq

Filed under: Iraq, Muslim Brotherhood, Radical Islam, Uncategorized — Tags: , — - @ 3:54 pm

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Around 2,500 people congregated in northern Iraq’s Kurdish city of Sulaymaniyah on Feb. 17 to protest government corruption, shouting slogans against Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani in particular.

The protests began with the crowd moving toward Sara Gate Square in central Sulaymaniyah. From there, the protesters advanced in the direction of the Kurdistan Democratic Party’s (KDP) headquarters on Salm Street. Riot police were in the area at the time but withdrew when the crowd started pushing toward KDP headquarters. Protesters began throwing stones at the building and breaking windows and doors in an apparent attempt to gain access. The KDP militia, also known as the Peshmerga, guarding the building retreated inside when the protesters became aggressive. They took up positions on the upper floors, from which they opened fire on demonstrators. According to a local health official, three protesters were killed and 53 others were wounded.

After the wounded were taken to the hospital, the crowd made several more attempts to storm the KDP headquarters, but the militia dispersed them by firing into the air. The protesters have continued their advances on the party headquarters, but the KDP militia does appear to be preventing the protesters — who, according to STRATFOR sources, are mostly men between the ages of 16 and 27 — from gaining access to the building.

KDP supporters have responded by storming and setting fire to the headquarters of the Goran opposition movement in the Kurdish capital city of Arbil and in the smaller town of Duhok, according to Goran’s KNN TV. A curfew has been put in place from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. local time in an attempt to quell the protests.

Protests in northern Iraq condemning corruption within the government started soon after similar protests led to the ouster of Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in mid-January. The protests have not reached a critical mass to pose a significant threat to the government, but this incident showed that authorities are responding more aggressively to the protesters, namely by firing live ammunition at them.

The video above was taken by a STRATFOR source about 100 meters (330 feet) from the KDP headquarters on Salm Street. In the video, shots can be heard in the first few seconds, followed by a panicked retreat, but then the situation settles quickly and protesters begin returning. This scene played out nearly 10 times over the course of the afternoon as demonstrators pushed toward the KDP headquarters and then were dispersed by gunfire.

Read more: STRATFOR Exclusive Video of Protests in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq | STRATFOR

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