Sulaimaniya – A representative for Sulaimaniya protesters said the anti-government campaigners give 48 hour respite to the Kurdistan Regional government to respond officially to their demands or they will stage a general strike in Sulaimaniya city, 346 km northeast of Baghdad.
Only after seven people died and over two hundred wounded in the clashes between the protesters and the security forces in Sulaimaniya, parliament sent a 12-member delegation to hear the demands of the marchers Monday, almost 12 days after the outbreak of violence.
Speaking to AKnews Monday afternoon, Faruq Rafiq, the temporary member of the high representative committee for Sulaimaniya protesters, said should the Kurdish government decline to voice its position with regard to the protesters’ terms within 48 hours” we will declare a general strike in Sulaimaniya.”
However, it will be a peaceful strike, “the demonstrators will sit in and block all the streets of Sulaimaniya,” Faruq said, explaining this is their way to “force the government to respond.”
Nask Qadr, the temporary spokeswoman for the council of protesters said the demonstrators demands comprise 11 terms related to the current situation and 26 basic demands, most of which pertinent to their life and sustenance.
She added the most prominent demands are restoration of security to Kurdistan, allowing for the representatives of the protesters in the meetings of the political parties, granting freedom to the universities, raising marriage loan, treating officials and public equality in front of law, segregation of political parties from government, reconsidering Kurdistan constitution, and assigning impartial technocrats to the security ministries.
The protesters further demand the government to take to justice the culprits, who shoot the protesters during the riots and parliament to summon and question the Kurdish ministers for interior, peshmarga (Kurdish armed forces) and finance ministers. They also require the government to reduce the salaries for the lawmakers, ministers, and all the other top officials, including the Kurdish presidencies. One further condition is to annul the orders for those who have been retired with the same rank and salary they received for a nominal rank with no active duty.
Almost a week after the outburst of bloodshed in Sulaimaniya province, one of the three in the northern Iraq Kurdistan Region, parliament met and promised to investigate the case.
The Kurdish prime minister, Barham Salih, also announced the details of Kurdistan budget project Sunday, where he stressed the marriage loan has been considerably increased. He added they have proposed a 10% reduction to the salaries of the top officials and ranks, adding his office has also suggested for wage raise for ranks and file officers. Salih promised better public services to the public and disallowing for parties’ interference in employment.
Hama-Said Hama-Ali, a member in the parliament delegation told AKnews the protesters have in written submitted their demands and the delegation will submit the terms to parliament without any delay.
Gasha Dara, another lawmaker, described the protesters “the caring citizens of Kurdistan”, while she deemed the Kurdish government and parliament “are willing to fulfill public demands,”