In response to protests, authorities restrict internet access in Kurdistan Region

Fire at mayor's residence in Said Sadiq (NRT Digital Media/Screenshot)

3500 View

+ -

SULAIMANI — Following deadly protests across Sulaimani governorate on Monday (December 7), the authorities in the Kurdistan Region restricted internet access to the population, according to a leading internet monitor.

Netblocks wrote in a tweet that “real-time network data show localized connectivity at 48% of ordinary levels” in Sulaimani governorate as of late afternoon and continuing overnight.

At least two protesters were killed on Monday, in Chamchamal and Kifri respectively, as residents and civil servants took to the streets to voice their anger about the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) handling of deteriorating economic conditions, the government’s inability to pay public sector salaries in full or on time, and lack of public services and job opportunities.

Following its extensive coverage of the protests, the security forces raided NRT’s offices in the early morning hours of Monday and suspended the channel’s broadcast in an attempt to limit residents’ access to information about the demonstrations.

The latest round of mass protests began on December 2 when thousands of civil servants, teachers, and local residents gathered in Sulaimani's main bazaar. A second day of protests in the city on December 3 was broken up by the local security forces, which left at least 25 people wounded.

On Sunday, protesters in Piramagrun sub-district, northwest of Sulaimani city, blocked the Dukan-Sulaimani highway and set fire to the local headquarters of the PUK. The following day, party offices in Kifri, Kalar, Piramagrun, and Darbandikhan were also set on fire.

(NRT Digital Media)