Erbil (Iraqinews.com) Kurdish forces have launched a wide-scale arrest campaign in Sulaymaniyah to silence demonstrators, who have taken to the streets since Monday in protest at delayed salary payments and poor services.
“Kurdish troops have been heavily deployed at Halabja, Chamchamal, Ranya and Koysinjaq towns in Sulaymaniyah governorate, and have already arrested scores of civilians there,” Alsumaria News quoted Kurdish media outlets as saying.
“There is a heavy security presence in central Sulaymaniyah in particular,” it added.
Meanwhile, a well-informed source told Alghad Press that the Kurdish authorities have cut off internet services in Sulaymaniyah.
Internet service providers Korek Telecom and Fastlink have received orders from the Kurdish security to shut down the internet in Sulaymaniyah in the wee hours of Wednesday, the source said.
The Iraqi Kurdistan region has been witnessing a sweeping wave of protests since Monday as demonstrators took to the streets to protest against the austerity policy, recently adopted by the Kurdish government.
The Baghdad-based Iraqi government had vowed to send salaries of Kurdish public employees following a political crisis and a later military standoff that resulted from the referendum the autonomous Kurdistan region held in September for secession from Iraq.
The Iraqi government had adopted penal measures against the Kurdish authorities following the poll, including a ban on financial transactions.
The issues of employees payments and the region’s share in the national budget had always been a subject of dispute between Baghdad and Erbil governments.