Protesters briefly block major road in Sulaimani to demand KRG pay salaries, create job opportunities

Security forces fire tear gas to disperse demonstrators
Residents in Sulaimani protesting and blocking road on Sunday June 21, 2020 (Photo Credit: NRT Digital Media)

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SULAIMANI — Burning tires and briefly blocking traffic at Wluba overpass, demonstrators angry with the government's handling of the economy protested on Sulaimani's 60 Meter Road on Sunday (June 21).

The security forces deployed to the protest site on the southeastern side of the city and reopened the road to traffic, at one point firing tear gas in an attempt to drive protesters away from the roadway and down into a nearby neighborhood. Some protesters threw rocks in return.

“These people are weary of lack of salary, lack of electricity, lack of livelihood, and lack of loyalty from all officials to those who supported them,” one of the protesters told NRT.

Referencing a legacy of the austerity policies implemented between 2014 and 2019, another protester said that it was absurd that the paychecks government employees receive in any given month are technically for work performed nearly half a year earlier.

“In Baghdad, the salary of [June] is being distributed, but in the [Kurdistan] Region, they are paying the salary of the beginning of 2020 [February]. Nothing like that has happened in any country. There is neither salary, nor electricity,” he said.

“We call for money and job opportunities because now every job and work [opportunity] is only for the rich” a third protester said.

Earlier on Sunday, bazaar shop owners and workers in Sulaimani protested in the city’s main bazaar and demanded a rent reduction from landlords and mall managers because they were struggling with the consequences of the coronavirus lockdowns earlier this year.

(NRT Digital Media)

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