Residents of Sulaimani’s Kanispika protest city’s decision to demolish their houses

Illegally-built years ago
The aftermath of a house after being demolished by the Encroachments Department of Sulaimani Municipality Presidency in Sulaimani's Kandinsky neighbourhood, Kurdistan region, Iraq on October 20, 2020. (Photo Credit: NRT Digital Media)

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SULAIMANI — Residents of Sulaimani’s Kanispika neighborhood burned tires and partially blocked a nearby roadway on Tuesday (October 20) to protest the demolition of their houses by the municipality.

One protester told NRT Digital Media that residents had been notified by the Sulaimani Municipality Presidency’s Encroachment Department that it was going to demolish their houses, which had been built without permits years earlier.

“We are asking the Kurdistan Regional Government [KRG] to come to the people in this area because their people live impoverished lives,” she said.

Ownership for illegally-built houses is a tricky issue, residents conceded, saying that deeds and paperwork may not be in order. Nevertheless, they wanted the government to act fairly.

“We know our houses are encroachments, but we are calling for [the government] not to discriminate among residents. There are people who have [illegally] built many houses and the relevant sides do not interrogate them,” the protester added.

She also said that the police forces have been patrolling the neighborhood and serving notices that homes will be demolished, which has angered residents.

The protesters told NRT that one of the residents has been in police custody for the past thirteen days in relation to the issue and that their house was demolished on Monday night.

(NRT Digital Media)