UNAMI expresses concern over violence in Kurdistan region

Kurdish demonstrators trying not to inhale gas fired by Kurdistan police during protests

Erbil ( – The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) expressed on Wednesday deep concern over violence in Iraqi Kurdistan region.

In a statement on its website, UNAMI said it “is deeply concerned about the violence and the reported casualties during demonstrations in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) in the last two days, and calls for restraint and calm on all sides.”

“The people have the right to partake in peaceful demonstrations, and the authorities in KRI have the responsibility of protecting their citizens, including peaceful protesters. KRI security forces also are urged to exercise maximum restraint in dealing with the demonstrators. UNAMI also calls on the demonstrators to avoid any act of violence, including the destruction of public and private properties,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, UNAMI called upon the authorities to respect and protect the media, after one outlet, NRT TV, was ordered to suspend its broadcasts because of the content of its reporting on the demonstrations.

“The Mission urges the media to abide by the law, while emphasizing the critical role of free and impartial media in any democratic society,” the statement concluded.

Earlier in the day, several media outlets reported that 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 the media outlets as saying.

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.

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