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1 protester killed in northern Iraq demonstrations

SULAYMANIYAH, IRAQ - DECEMBER 7: Smoke rises after protesters set fire to some political party buildings and government offices in Seyitsadik district during protests due to salary delays in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq on December 7, 2020. ( Fariq Faraj Mahmood - Anadolu Agency )
Smoke rises after protesters set fire to some political party buildings and government offices in Seyitsadik district during protests due to salary delays in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq on December 7, 2020 [Fariq Faraj Mahmood - Anadolu Agency]

A protester was killed and another critically injured as ongoing protests in northern Iraq over deteriorating economic conditions turned violent, local sources said on Thursday, Anadolu Agency reports.

Security forces opened fire on demonstrators in Sulaymaniyah's Kifri district, according to health director of Germiyan district Sirvan Jamal.

Clashes between security forces and protesters left a 21-year-old teenager dead and another person injured, Jamal said.

The casualties occurred when protesters attacked a Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) building, according to Kurdish Regional Government's (KRG) local media.

READ: Iraq president calls on Kurdish officials to respond to protesters' demands

Commenting on recent demonstrations in Sulaymaniyah, Prime Minister of Iraq's KRG Masrour Barzani implied that PKK elements were involved in the unrest to disrupt stability in the region.

"The demonstrations saw the participation of Syrian citizens and those from outside the Kurdistan Region," Barzani said, stressing that "a group had infiltrated the demonstrators and changed the direction of the protests and attacked party and public buildings."

Since Dec. 7, some nine people were killed and dozens others injured in the protests against the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq's Suleymaniyah and Halabja provinces.

The KRG has been struggling to pay the salaries of civil servants since April, when Baghdad stopped paying them as a result of disputes over oil wealth management and the distribution of its revenues, as well as revenues from border crossings.

The number of KRG civil servants is estimated at 1.2 million, receiving total salaries of $700 million per month.

READ: Two small Iraqi oil wells set ablaze in 'terrorist attack', ministry says

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