19 April 2011
IRAQ: Seven thousand armed forces positioned throughout
Suleimaniya City, Iraq; 1000 students detained by Asaish
Following sixty-two days of continuous protest in Suleimaniya Iraq against
corruption within the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), the government has
revoked legal permission for the protest, and a source within the armed
Peshmerga Forces told CPTers that forces received orders to shoot to kill any demonstrators
The otherwise nonviolent demonstrations in Suleimaniya at Azadi (Freedom)
Square ended in major violence on 17 and 18 April. On both days, security forces formed a ring around Azadi
Square. Claiming groups of young
men throwing rocks had provoked them, the forces entered the square of about 1000
unarmed and nonviolent demonstrators, shooting tear gas and live bullets. They also beat people with batons as
they tried to clear square of all demonstrators. At 6:30 p.m., 18 April, the armed forces burned down the
stage and platform used by speakers at the demonstration.
Nine people have died and close to 1000 have been injured since the demonstrations
began on 17 February 2011. Hundreds have been arrested and disappeared. The independent television station, NRT
was burned to the ground in February and the authorities have detained, beaten,
kidnapped, and tortured hundreds of journalists.
Today, 19 April, at 11:00 a.m., the Asaish (secret police) took hostage approximately
1000 students from Suleimaniya University who were planning to demonstrate at
the Suleimaniya Courthouse.
Seven thousand Peshmerga, Asaish, and Emergency Protection Force loyal to PUK
party leaders are positioned throughout the city of Suleimaniya as of this
morning, 19 April.