Iraqi President Fuad Masum called on protesters in the northern Kurdistan region to exercise restraint, abide by the law and not to damage government and political party headquarters.
“A number of cities and districts north of the country have witnessed protests mostly by employees and workers who demand payment of their salaries and benefits which had been mostly delayed for several months,” the president said in a televised speech.
“We call on all our people, especially the protesters to show calm, abide by the law and exercise restraint.”
He has also called on the security authorities to promptly investigate the perpetrators of the attacks and hold them to account for their actions as well as to protect the protesters’ security and ensure their right to fully express their demands.
Masum called on the federal government and the Kurdistan region’s administration to immediately work to respond to the protesters’ legitimate demands.
“We also call to take serious and practical steps to resolve the problem of the delayed payment of salaries and address the difficulties suffered by citizens in different cities in the northern region.”
International flights should resume to airports in the Kurdish region, he said. Flights had been banned 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.
At least five people were killed and more than 90 wounded on Tuesday in clashes with Kurdish security forces, local officials said, and some were injured when the crowd was shot at with rubber bullets and sprayed with tear gas.
Protesters attacked several offices of the main political parties in Sulaymaniyah province on Monday and Tuesday.