Demonstrators in Iraq have called for a ‘Day of Rage’ on 25 February to demand better services and an end to corruption.
Demonstrations began in the Kurdish city of Sulaymaniyah on 17 February with reports of hundreds of protestors taking to the streets, mainly students. Three protesters were killed and over 100 were wounded as armed militia responded with violence.
On Tuesday 22 February, more than 3,000 people protested again in the city, two more protesters were killed.
Ironically on the same day Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani accepted the Atlantic Award for his role in promoting peace, stability and religious tolerance in the Kurdish region and the rest of Iraq from the Italian Atlantic Committee and the Italian delegation to the Nato Parliamentary Assembly.
Political leaders believe that Kurdish opposition party Change is behind the unrest. Change leaders last month called for an end to the government, of which they have 25 seats.
The Iraqi government is seeking to diffuse tensions ahead of the ‘Day of Rage’. Ministers have cut their salaries, promised better food provisions and lowering electricity tariffs.