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Iraq: Hundreds protest demanding reform in Kurdish region

Thousands of public servants hold banners and shout slogans during a demonstration to protest non-payment of salaries and corruption at public enterprises, in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq on 18 December 2017 [Feriq Fereç/Anadolu Agency]

Hundreds of people protested yesterday in the northern Kurdish region of Iraq demanding reform and to improve the living conditions in the region, Turkey’s Anadolu Agency reported.

Protesters gathered in the areas of Taqtaq, Kalar, Rawandiz and Halabja against living conditions and demanding salaries be paid.

In the city of Sulaymaniyah, security forces had to forcibly disperse the protesters.

According to Anadolu, riot police and Kurdish Asayish security forces demanded protesters end their demonstration, when they refused, security forces fired tear gas at them.

In the Bira Makroun district of Sulaymaniyah, protesters stormed and set fire to the headquarters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, the Gorran Movement and the Kurdistan Islamic Union.

Read: Iraq’s Central Bank reverses decision to close banks in Kurdish region

No casualties were reported.

The Kurdistan region of Iraq has been experiencing a severe economic crisis for more than two years as a result of differences between the semi-autonomous region and the central government in Baghdad.

The crisis escalated after the province held an independence referendum which was opposed by Baghdad. In response, the central government in Baghdad announced a list of sanctions against the region, leading to it cancelling the results of the vote.

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