Baghdad (Iraqinews) A number of Kurdish students were arrested Sunday by the Popular Mobilization Forces over celebration of the Kurdistan Flag Day, a source told Shafaq News.
“An armed group of the PMFs arrested the students who were wearing unique Kurdish clothing to celebrate the Kurdistan Flag Day at the University of Kirkuk,” the source said.
“The students were taken to an unknown location,” the source said, adding that no police forces intervened to prevent the arrest of the students.
The Kurdistan flag, a symbol for its people, is hoisted every year with the national anthem ‘Ey Reqib’ usually being played.
December 17 was designated as the Kurdistan Flag Day by the Kurdistan Region parliament in 2009.
Last week, clashes broke out between Iraqi and Kurdish troops in the disputed region between Erbil and Baghdad.
The clashed erupted after Iraqi army and PMFs accessed Fekaka village, in Qurret Tabah region, for the first time since 2014.
The Kurdish troops deployed in the village, according to Kurdish reports, were engaged in clashes with Iraqi troops, however, the tensions eased later. It was revealed later that Iraqi troops arrived to arrest two suspects.
Kurds voted overwhelmingly to break away from Iraq in a referendum held on Sept. 25, defying the central government in Baghdad as well as neighboring Turkey and Iran who have their own Kurdish minorities.
Last month, the Supreme Federal Court issued a verdict considering Kurdistan’s independence referendum “unconstitutional”.
The court also cancelled all results of the controversial vote, which sparked outrage between Baghdad and Erbil.
Iraqi government forces and the Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces launched a surprise offensive on Oct. 16 in retaliation. Government forces managed to wrest back control of the oil city of Kirkuk and other disputed territories.