In brief

At least 9 killed in protests against Kurdish government over salary delays

Kurdish authorities blame Iraqi government on economic situation

A protest in Said Sadq (Silêmanî province).
A protest in Said Sadq (Silêmanî province). Author: Twitter @kurdishblogger account
Nine people have been killed in protests over the delay of salary payments to civil servants in the autonomous region of South Kurdistan (Iraq). Protests have been ongoing for a week in the provinces of Silêmanî (Sulaymaniyah in Arabic) and Helebce (Halabja).

Eight people were killed by shots by the Kurdish security forces or, according to some witnesses, by militias of government parties. The ninth person killed is a Peshmerga.

Protesters claim that the public workers of the Kurdish semi-autonomous region have not received their full salaries since March. They also protest corruption and unemployment. About a quarter of the population of South Kurdistan depends on public salaries.

Some protesters have set fire to offices of the three main Kurdish parties: the KDP, the UPK, and Gorran.

Kurdish Prime Minister Masrour Barzani has blamed the situation on the Iraqi federal government for not having made the necessary transfers of funds for the payment of salaries. Barzani says Baghdad is not fulfilling its “obligations to Kurdistan.”

A delegation of the Kurdish government, led by deputy prime minister Qubad Talabani, has travelled to Baghdad in order to hold talks with Iraqi ministries of Finance and Oil.

Eight Iraqi and international human rights organisations have issued a statement in which they blame the Kurdish authorities for restricting public freedoms since this August and for having arrested dozens, including social activists and journalists, over protests against corruption and the delay of salary payments, or over reporting about them.

The statement also denounces arrests that Iraqi authorities have been carrying out since 2019, for similar reasons.