April 18, 2011

Attacks on MPs and Journalists continues in Kurdistan - By Shwan Zulal

Violent clashes between the protesters and security forces are continuing and today students from Salahaddin University in Erbil and others in the centre of the capital have started demonstrating. The demonstrations were quelled, as soon as they started because KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party) security forces subjected the protesters to knive attacks and beatings by batons, said Awena newspaper.

There are many reports of violations against protesters, students, journalists and opposition MP's. It has been reported that plain cloth security personnel in centre of Erbil have beaten an MP. Lvinepress have been reporting that opposition Goran, Iraqi MP, Muhamad Kyani have been beaten in Erbil while trying to take part in a peaceful protest in Erbil, and it has been reported that he has suffered from minor injuries.

At least one journalist has been reported missing and many more been subject of beatings by the authorities. Hawlati newspaper have reported that Rasul Hussain, editor-in-chief of Samal magazine have been kidnapped by a number of unidentified people driving a car without registration number. Theses repeated attacks on journalists have been occurring on a daily bases in Kurdistan and Amnesty in Intentional and Reporters Without Borders have also reported the violation and condemned it.

Goran, the largest opposition parties, claimed today that five of their MP's have been shot at while they were responding to a call by another Goran MP whom his house have been surrounded by unknown armed men in Erbil. The identity of the gunmen is not known and none of he MPs were injured in the incident.
Meanwhile, in Slemani (Sulaimaniyah) clashes and violence continue from yesterday. So far emergency hospital spokesperson has said 18 people have been admitted and 2 suffering from gunshot wounds, reported Hawlati.
The security forces have been using tear gas and live ammunition as well as throwing stones to try to disperse the crowds. Protesters claim that the tear gas used by the authorities has passed its use by date. Many protesters have been suffering form severe symptoms due to the tear gas used.

Due to the adverse effects of the tear gas on the protesters and security forces, many volunteered doctors are in Maidani Azadi (Sera Square) to treat people affected on the scene, reports Kurdiu.   There are reports of unrest and violence from other towns and villages in Kurdistan, and Hawlati reports that two people were shot in the town of Duakn earlier this afternoon and many other were beaten. Similar reports from Koya University, as the situation appears to be deteriorating.

After today's events in Erbil and Slemani, one thing is becoming clear; the resolve of the protesters remains strong after all the violence committed against them. Moreover, the authorities are not willing to give in that easily and are willing to escalate the violence by targeting opposition MPs and Journalists.


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