Friday, April 01, 2011
By: Shwan Zulal
Since yesterday the level of violence in Kurdistan protest have been noticeably rising. Yesterday an opposition Goran MP and six other were injured in Kalar when few people attacked them with knives and stones. Today, groups of youths and riot police have clashed in Slemani (Sulaimaniyah) and such clashes have been reported in at least two locations. There are conflicting reports about the identity of the violent protesters. Maidani Azadi (Sera Square) protesters and their temporary committee have been denying involvement in the violence; nevertheless, the authorities have accused the committee of inciting violence. Moreover, there are unconfirmed reports that a large force are trying to take over the protest centre and dismantle the protesters stands in Maidani Azadi.
It is important to note that last night, Hawlati newspaper reported a KDP force entering Slemani under night cover and staying in KDP office in the city. While lvinpress is reporting that, the people involved in the protest are members of KDP secret services. For the time being, there is no way to find out the identity and intention of the youngsters who have lit fires on the street and are throwing stones at the riot police. Meanwhile, Slemani emergency hospital said, 35 people been admitted so far mainly with minor injuries.
Maidani Azadi committee has announced this afternoon that the person in charge of the group was a member of the committee and was identified as a KDP mole last week and no longer part on the committee. It is still early days as to the identity of the breakaway group. The Kurdish press have reported that the group of protesters are hostile to photographers and the press cannot get close and speak to them. It could be that they are trying to protecting their identity or they have something to hide. Furthermore, eyewitnesses have said that Kaso Shopping Mall have been vandalised by a small group of youth and the riot police have stood idly by while PUK and KDP television cameras are filming the event. These footages could be used for propaganda purposes and justify using force against the rest of peaceful protesters.
This may yet be another cynical move by the authority's to encourage violent behaviour in order to have an excuse to come down hard on the majority peaceful protesters. Otherwise, today's events is a singe that the patience of some protesters have ran out and they want to achieve their demands by force rather than asking for it.
In the meantime, the person in charge of KDP Branch 4, when they opened fire on protesters in Slemani on 17 February, has been in the headlines once again. He was replaced soon after the incident, not because his position was untenable, but in fear for his life. The court has issued an arrest warrant for him and instead of handing him over to the police, KDP sent him to Germany to escape justice. However, a group of youth have started a campaign in Europe to try to obtain an arrest warrant for him from Interpol. Soon after this development, KDP has flown his man back to Kurdistan in fear of a PR disaster in Europe. According to the current reports, he is in a safe house in Rawanduz area and KDP have yet to observe the law of the land and hand him over the relevant authorises.
There is no need to explain the lack of respect for the law by the two militia and their cronies in Kurdistan, as it is a known fact and everyone can observe it on a daily bases. President Masu'd Barzani announces new powers to arrest violent protesters yesterday and conveniently the violent protest commence the day after. The president seems to be advocating one law for the public and another for his family and cronies. He is protecting the man who is responsible for killing two protesters and injuring over 40, yet he is introducing a law to give the authorities more powers to arrest peaceful protesters.