The current count is 80 people wounded and five dead in Iraqi Kurdistan as a result of massive protests held in response to a denial for independence after September’s referendum vote. Kurdish citizens predominantly voted in favor of cession from the Iraqi government and Baghdad’s stranglehold on Kurdistan’s economy, but Iraq responded swiftly with the proxy invasion of Kirkuk by the infamous Hashd Al-Shabi paramilitary forces and Iranian PMU militia. In turn this created massive backlash from the Kurdish community who have begun protesting the failure of democracy in their society and the failure of their “elected” officials to take action in the defense of Kurdistan’s autonomy.
It has been reported by several Kurdish media outlets that the militias have executed captured Peshmerga soldiers and civilians around the Kirkuk region during this occupation. While protesting has long had its place in the Kurdish region, typically over wages being delayed from the Iraqi government, it has never reached a boiling point of quite this magnitude. While most of the previous ones have been relatively peaceful in nature with nothing more than chanting and walking a designated route, usually past a government building, this is no loner the case.
Every reputable political party is being targeted for their general collective failure it seems, travel is being restricted and Kurdistan is close to entering a state of martial law. The Mayor of Koysinjaq’s office was set ablaze the other day while protesters forced their way into the Democratic Party of Kurdistan’s offices after throwing debris and rocks at them. In the city of Sulaymaniyah, the capital of the patriotic Union of Kurdistan, another major political party, police opened fire with rifles to disperse a crowd of protesters.
One particular protester was quoted saying,”You’re incapable – incapable of defending the disputed areas and incapable of ruling the Kurdistan region,” which seems to sum up the overall attitude felt by Kurds towards the situation and their autonomous government as a whole.