Hundreds of protestors clashed with security forces after a smaller group stormed the headquarters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in Slêmanî (Suleimaniya) today. Once inside KDP headquarters they destroyed furniture and computers. Witnesses said that security forces opened fire to disperse the crowd. Reports are varied and changing often, but CNN reported 9 dead and 47 injured. Other reports suggest only two have been killed. AKNews says 5 killed, 9 wounded.
Demonstrators are said to be angry about government corruption, the quality of basic services and unemployment. Tensions began in late January when Gorran’s leader, Nawshirwan Mustafa, called on the current government to step down. Gorran spokesperson Mohammed Tawfiq Rahim said at the time, ‘Waves of protest are resonating across the world. If the KDP and PUK don’t reform, that could happen here as well.’
A local police and hospital official both said two people were killed in the incident, and the medical official said 47 people were injured. Both the officials said the deaths and injuries were the result of shootings. Neither wanted to be identified because they were not authorized to speak to the media. The two protesters killed were men aged 18 and 25.
An Associated Press reporter on the scene saw one teenager shot in the head and being carried away by policemen on the street who were trying to help the protesters.
In one tweet ‘GorranGuy’ who is a medical doctor in Slêmanî, pleads for blood to treat the wounded: ‘i am a doctor at Tawarreka we need O-/O+ for some of the wounded.’ He said they had run out and there were many wounded, some of whom were in need of surgery.
Retaliation attacks are being reported in Erbil (Hewlêr), the region’s capital, where Gorran Headquarters and Gorran-owned KNN TV station offices have been attacked and burned. Lvin Magazine reports that several other Gorran offices have been attacked in the city. A Gorran office in Duhok has also been attacked and looted.
A curfew is now in place from 7pm to 7am.
UPDATES: Please see the many updates in the comments section sent in by NC