Whoever is dissatisfied with current situation in Kurdistan Region should come to streets, says New Generation Leader

Following protests in Sulaimani
New Generation President Shaswar Abdulwahid (File)

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SULAIMANI — Following recent protests in Sulaimani, New Generation Movement President Shaswar Abdulwahid said on Thursday (December 3) that those who are dissatisfied with the current situation in the Kurdistan Region should take to the street and protest.

“Let whoever that is dissatisfied with this situation come to the streets (including me) and let whoever that is satisfied sit at home and not go out,” Abdulwahid said in a post on Facebook.

“They are demonstrations by ordinary people without weapons demanding their rights, not of those of political parties,” he said.

“Victory is for the people; collapse is for the corrupt and oppressive authorities, whether it is today or tomorrow.”

For a second consecutive day on Thursday, residents and public sector workers protested in Sulaimani's main bazaar against deteriorating economic conditions, salary cuts and delays, and a lack of public services. On the second day, the security forces used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon to disperse the demonstrators.

Several protesters have been detained by the security forces and others were injured by the tear gas, rubber bullets, and water cannon deployed by the security forces to disperse protesters.

The Political Council of the New Generation Movement expressed its support for the protests.

“We back any protests aimed at [securing the] people’s rights and putting an end to the governance of both families and the theft and squandering of the Kurdistan Region’s wealth,” the Council said in a statement.

“Victory is for the people, either today or yesterday, and ravaging is for the persecuting, authoritarian, and corrupt authorities,” the statement continued.

“People have marched in the streets and are calling for legitimate rights in a extremely calm and civil way, but the authority is even afraid of calm and civil demonstrations.”

Later on Thursday evening, the Movement said in a statement that two members of the Movement’s High Council, along with many other activists, teachers and organizers have been arrested for participating in the protests.

Since the beginning of the year, residents in the Kurdistan Region have been hard-hit by an economic recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic and ongoing disputes between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the federal government over budget issues.

On Wednesday, the KRG said that it would pay the delayed October salary to civil servants with a twenty-one percent cut and would need to borrow $205 million to do so.

The KRG last paid public sector salaries on October 15, which it cut by eighteen percent cut. Salaries paid in July and August were slashed by twenty-one percent.

(NRT Digital Media)