Protestors torch offices of Kurdish parties in northern Iraq

Source: Xinhua| 2017-12-19 01:57:37|Editor: yan
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SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- Kurdish protesters set fire to offices of the regional Kurdish parties Monday in Iraq's semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan amid widespread anger over unpaid salaries and corruption.

The demonstrators torched the office of the ruling Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP), headed by the former regional president Masoud Barzani, in the city of Sulaimaniyah in northeastern Iraq, Xinhua reporter in the city said.

The protestors also set fire to the offices of KDP, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), Change Movement (Gorran), Islamic Union of Kurdistan (Yekgirtu), and Islamic Group (Komela), in different cities and towns in Sulaimaniyah province, he said.

In some protests, the demonstrators turned violent when some protestors stoned the security forces guarding the Kurdish offices, prompting the troops to use tear gas in an attempt to disperse the crowds, he added.

About 30 people were taken to hospitals as a result of various suffocation and injuries, the reporter said citing a medical source.

Hama Ibrahim, an activist, told Xinhua the demonstrations started in the morning, but turned violent in the afternoon after the security forces used tear gas and the demonstrators threw stones on them.

The protests were sparked by frustration over unpaid salaries to teachers and other civil servants, in addition to the deterioration of basic services and widespread corruption.

The provinces of the Kurdistan region have been suffering from financial and economic hardship as a result of disagreement with the federal government in Baghdad over distribution of crude oil revenues extracted from the northern oilfields.

The financial hardship has increased after the Iraqi forces retook control of the oil-rich province of Kirkuk and some other oil wells in the disputed areas on October 16.

Tensions have been running high between Baghdad and the region of Kurdistan after the Kurds held a controversial referendum on the independence of the Kurdistan region and the disputed areas on Sept. 25.

The independence of Kurdistan has been fiercely opposed by the Iraqi central government.