New Generation Movement leader Abdulwahid joins protests in Sulaimani, reaffirms support for their demands

Protesters call for main bazaar to reopen despite curfew

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SULAIMANI — New Generation Movement President Shaswar Abdulwahid joined a protest in Sulaimani on Tuesday (June 2) against the government's handling of the dual crisis of the coronavirus outbreak and deteriorating economic conditions in the Kurdistan Region.

During a short speech, he reaffirmed his support for the protesters and their demands that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) relax coronavirus curfew restrictions so that they could reopen their shops and go back to work.

“Every political side and force should support you,” Abdulwahid said, accusing the other parties of sitting on the sidelines.

“These protests are the protests of the people. The power of the nation is much stronger than the power of weapons. If we fight with the force of weapons, we will only let the poor people’s sons die,” he continued.

“We should fight them using a force they do not know, which is the force of the people,” Abdulwahid added.

The New Generation leader echoed a call he made over the weekend for larger, more general protests, saying that today's demonstration was only aimed at reopening Sulaimani's main bazaar.

Tuesday's demonstration followed on from rallies in Darbandikhan, Ranya, and Qaladze the previous night against reimposition of a coronavirus curfew on Monday. The KRG insisted that the curfew was necessary because of the a surge in the number of coronavirus cases over the past three weeks.

In the morning, shop owners in Darbandikhan and Ranya opened their shops in defiance of the curfew and spread to several locations in Sulaimani city, Erbil, and Kalar.

NRT reporter Zhalla Muhammed said that nearly 250 shop owners and workers in Sulaimani’s Mawlawi and Goran streets protested outside the main bazaar, demanding that they be able to reopen their shops.

However, as the day progressed the protest in Sulaimani steadily grew until a few hundred had gathered in front of the Sulaimani Palace Hotel, which is normally one of the busiest intersections in the city.

(NRT Digital Media)