At least 8 wounded in protest in northern Iraq

10:37, February 20, 2011      

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At least eight protestors were wounded on Saturday in a demonstration in the province of Sulaimaniyah in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region, a local security source said.

Hundreds of Iraqi Kurds demonstrated during the day in central the city of Sulaimaniyah, located some 330 km northeast of Baghdad, and marched towards the city government building, demanding the release of people detained earlier by the Kurdish security forces after Thursday's demonstration, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Dozens of the protestors stoned the government building and tried to storm it, the source said, adding that the guards opened fire on the attackers in an attempt to prevent them from entering the building, wounding at least eight people.

During Thursday's demonstration, some protestors stoned the office of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), headed by the regional president Massud Barzani, and tried to storm the building, but guards of the Kurdish party office opened fire on the crowd, killing at least one person and wounding more than 20 others.

The protestors, on Saturday, demanded a prosecution for the head of a Kurdish party office who they claimed was responsible for giving the order for security to open fire on Thursday's demonstration.

The protestors also accused the Kurdish security forces in Sulaimaniyah of conducting arrest operations in the city after Thursday's demonstration when hundreds of angry protestors took to the streets in the city, demanding jobs and measures to combat wide-spread corruption.

Sulaimaniyah is the base of the Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and his Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).

The KDP and PUK parties are the two major parties which control the three provinces of Sulaimaniyah, Arbil and Duhuk in the northern Kurdish region.

In Baghdad, more than 1,000 orphans and widows demonstrated in western the capital, calling for better compensation for their families victims of violence, in addition to demands by some demonstrators to the government to release their families detainees.

Also in the capital, hundreds of people rallied during the day in Baghdad's al-Tahrir Square, demanding better services, new job opportunities for the unemployed, adequate supply of food and punishment of corrupt officials.

Since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, Iraq has long faced the problems of lacking power plants and qualified water resources, which usually make many Iraqis protest in summer for the brutal heat wave.

Recently, several thousands of Iraqis sporadically took to the streets in several provinces across the country protesting unemployment and a sharp rise in the prices of food staples, as well as demanding better public services.

Source: Xinhua
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