Death toll from protests in Iraq’s Kurdistan rises to six, say officials

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The toll from protests against northern Iraq’s Kurdish authorities has risen to six dead, medics and officials said Tuesday, as rage swells over delayed public sector salaries and pay cuts.

Demonstrations against the Kurdish regional government (KRG) and the region’s main parties broke out last week in towns across the northeastern region of Sulaimaniyah.

On Monday, security forces protecting a row of political party offices in the town of Chamchamal shot dead one 26-year-old protester there, a medical source told AFP.

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Later in the evening, more bloody rallies left two people dead in the towns of Kifri and Dabandikhan, according to a local official in the Kurdish region and the Baghdad-based Iraqi Human Rights Commission.

Despite the violence, more protesters hit the streets in at least a half-dozen towns in the Sulaimaniyah region on Tuesday.

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In Takya, about 60 kilometers southwest of the city of Sulaimaniyah, crowds tried to set the offices of Kurdish parties and the local police station alight, AFP’s correspondent said.

One 16-year-old protester was shot dead there, a medic told AFP. The Human Rights Commission confirmed one dead in Takya.

Rallies in the town of Sayedsadeq to the east likewise turned deadly on Tuesday, with two protesters killed, according to Umid Hama Ali, a former Kurdish lawmaker from the region and the Human Rights Commission.

KRG authorities announced a 24-hour ban on travel between Sulaimaniyah and surrounding towns starting at midnight on Tuesday.

The violence prompted a condemnation from the United Nations’ Iraq office.

“Investigations should commence immediately to identify the perpetrators of the violence and for these persons to be held fully accountable,” it said.