Zornige Proteste auch im kurdischen Teil Iraks

Es begann mit einer Erklärung von Goran am 29. Januar, in der die Auflösung von Parlament und Regierung sowie transparente Neuwahlen innerhalb gefordert wurde. U.a. heißt es darin: „Wir sind Zeuge des Falls von Dikatoren und totalitärer Staaten […], aber die Verantwortlichen in der Kurdistan-Region haben keinerlei echte Schritte in Richtung Demokratisierung des herrschenden Regimes unternommen.“ Die Führer der Region nahmen die Herausforderung ernst und versetzten die Region in Alarmzustand.
Vor allem in der Provinzhauptstaat Sulaimaniyya fuhren an wichtigen Orten Panzer auf. Hier hat Goran, deren Führer zum guten Teil einst prominente PUK-Mitglieder waren, ihre Hochburg. Der Peshmerga-Minister erklärte seinen Einheiten seien in voller Bereitschaft, bereit jeden Zeit einzugreifen. (Tanks in Sulaymaniyah, niqash, 7.2.2011)
Es war dann auch Sulaimaniyya, wo es zum ersten tödlichen Zusammenstoß kam. Als einige hundert oder tausend, überwiegend junge Demonstranten Demonstranten vors Hauptquartier der KDP zogen, schossen Polizei und Peshmergas in die Menge töteten drei Demonstranten und verwundeten über 40 weitere (siehe At least two protesters dead, LA Times, 17.2.2011 und ausführlicher: Opposition Party Demands Dissolution Of Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government, Musings On Iraq, 18.2.2011)
Die Proteste in Sulaimaniya steigerten sich daraufhin täglich, Studenten begannen sich mit einem großen, zeitlich unbefristeten Sitzstreik zu beteiligen. Immer wieder kam es zu schweren Zusammenstößen mit Regierungskräften und Peshmergas. Die Zahl der Verwundete liegt mittlerweile weit über hundertfünfzig.
Als am Montag 21.2. über 4000 Männer und Frauen die Verwaltungssitze der Stadt belagerten, um die Freilassung der Gefangenen durchzusetzen und die Situation erneut zu eskalieren drohte, eilten Kulturschaffende, Medienleute und andere namhafte Persönlichkeiten herbei, um sich als Schutzschild vor die Demonstranten zu stellen.
Am nächsten Tag versammelten sich 6.000 zu einem Sit-In und verlangten neben Reformen auch die Absetzung und Bestrafung für die die für die Gewalt gegen Demonstrationen verantwortlich sind. Am Mittwoch waren es bereits über 10.000 Demonstranten.
Die Proteste weiteten sich rasch auf das übrige Autonomiegebiet aus. Auch in Halabja gab es bei Zusammenstößen zwischen Demonstranten und Polizei und Peshmergas einen Toten.
„Lange Zeit als kulturelles und ökonomisches Zentrum betrachtet, verwandelte sich Sulaimaniyya in eine militarisierte Stadt“ stellte Reuters am 22.2. fest
Dessen ungeachtet brachte der Freitag, der „Tag des Zornes“ im ganzen Irak, die bisher größte Demonstration. Die Schätzungen der Zahl der Teilnehmer, die sich auf dem Maidany Azady in Sulaimaniyya versammelten, reichen von 7.000 im Bericht der kurdischen Zeitung Rudaw aus Erbil über 35.000 – 40.000 im Augenzeugenbericht eines in Sulaimaniyya lebenden Bloggers Karzan Kardozi bis zu 60.000 – 100.000 auf Twitter. Die mittlere Zahl erscheint mit Blick auf die Bilder des Bloggers am plausibelsten.
In Sulaimaniyya blieb es einigermaßen friedlich, was evtl. auch den „Weißen Gruppen“ zu verdanken ist, die sich ganz in weiß gekleidet, immer wieder schützend vor Demonstranten stellten (s. Kardozis Blog). In zwei kleineren Städten gab es Tote In Kalar, 140 km südlich von Sulaimaniyya, wurde ein Demonstrant getötet und 27 verwundet, in Chamchamal traf es ein 10-12 jähriges Kind.
Im Erbil wurden Demonstrationen durch Blockaden der KDP, die die Hauptstadt der Autonomen Region kontrolliert weitgehend unterbunden. Die Universitäten der Stadt wurden aufgrund angekündigter studentischer Proteste bis April geschlossen. (Most Massive Anti-Govt Protest in Sulaimani, Rudaw, 25.2.2011)
Der Ruf nach Rücktritt der kurdischen Regionalregierung wurde im Lauf der Proteste immer lauter. Auch Goran hat sie mit dem Rückenwind der Demonstrationen erneuert. Sie ist auch die einzige Partei, die voll und ganz hinter die Protestbewegung steht.
Die Reaktion der Machthaber ließ nicht lange auf sich warten. Sieben Parteizentralen wurden überfallen, verwüstet und z.T. niedergebrannt. Der unabhängigen Fernsehstation NRT, die zu ausführlich über die Proteste berichtete, ging es nicht besser. In ihrer Presserklärung macht NRT die PUK verantwortlich. Die Blutspur eines angeschossenen Angreifers habe in Richtung der Residenz des Parteiführers Jalal Talabani geführt, der gleichzeitig auch Präsident Iraks ist.
Auch zahlreiche Journalisten, die die Demonstrationen begleiteten, wurden, wie die irakisch-kurdische Nachrichtenagentur AKNews berichtete, angegriffen.
In der BRD berichtete nur die junge Welt einmal etwas ausführlicher über die Geschehnisse im kurdischen Irak. (Nick Brauns, Erneut ein »Tag des Zorns«, jW, 25.02.2011)
Eine ausführliche tägliche Zusammenstellung von Meldungen, Fotos, Videos, Blogger-Berichten etc. über die Proteste im Irak findet man auf einer Irak-News-Seite von WL Central (WikiLeaks news, analysis and action)
Anbei zur Veranschaulichung einige englische Kurzmitteilungen aus irakischen Medien. (Die Teilnehmerzahlen scheinen in der Regel, wenn man sie mit den Bildern vergleicht, wie in unseren Medien deutlich zu niedrig angegeben zu werden.)


Tanks in Sulaymaniyah: „We are not the same as Egypt or Tunisia“
niqash | Zanko Ahmad | mon 07 feb 11
http://www.niqash.org/content.php?contentTypeID=75&id=2777&lang=0
On the morning of 29 January 2011, the Kurdish opposition Movement for Change published a statement demanding the dissolution of the Kurdish government and calling for elections within three months.
It also called for a ban preventing the security forces and the Kurdish intelligence from interfering in political affairs, and for a return of public property that was seized by the two political parties.
Since then, there has been a high state of alert in the Kurdistan region, in particular in the city of Sulaimaniyah, where military tanks can now be seen in the streets, near almost all civilian and military institutions.
Two military tanks of the Peshmerga forces are stationed on a hill, a dozen meters away from the office of the Prime Minister, Barham Saleh, in the city centre. The Peshmerga minister in the Kurdistan Regional Government, Sheikh Jaffar Mustafa, says his forces are “in a full state of alert and ready to assist the police and security forces if needed, because of fears that the statement may lead to chaos.“
[…]
Certainly, Change’s demands are unequivocal: “We are witnessing the fall of dictators and totalitarian states (…), but officials in the Kurdistan region have not taken any real steps towards the democratisation of the ruling regime.“
[…]
A few hours after the opposition statement was published, the two ruling parties issued a strongly worded statement, accusing Change of „anarchism and sabotage.“
[…] But he [chief editor of Hawalati] thinks the two main parties „are undemocratic and will not accept changes of such kind and magnitude. Citizens will be the first losers if chaos breaks out.“
This time, though, only the
[Kurdistan] Islamic Group supported Change, while other opposition forces sided with the ruling parties. […]
1 killed, 33 wounded in Sulaimaniya protests
Aswat al-Iraq, 2/17/2011 6:25 PM
http://en.aswataliraq.info/Default1.aspx?page=article_page&id=141044&l=1
SULAIMANIYA / Aswat al-Iraq: One protester was killed and 33 others wounded off the fourth branch of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) building in Sulaimaniya on Thursday, a medic said.
“A dead body and 33 people wounded were received by the Sulaimaniya Emergency Hospital after violence broke out when demonstrators calling for better services, an end to corruption and political reforms as well as support for the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia pelted the KDP’s fourth branch building with stones,” the medic told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.
The stone-throwing prompted the KDP building guards to shoot fire in the air in an attempt to disperse the demonstrators, he added. Aswat al-Iraq correspondent had said five protesters were wounded in the demonstration.
An informed source said that the Kurdish city of Sulaimaniya is witnessing an embarrassing security situation. “The Kurdish peshmerga forces are deployed on a number of streets and near the key partisan and government headquarters to wield control over the situation.”
Five Dead, Dozens Wounded in Iraqi Kurdistan Protest
RUDAW (Erbil), 17/02/2011 15:32:00
http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurds/3468.html
image
Five people were killed and dozens wounded Thursday as over a thousand protesters took to the streets in downtown Sulaimani. —– Photo/lvinpress.com
ERBIL, Iraqi Kurdistan: Five people were killed and dozens wounded Thursday as over a thousand protesters took to the streets in downtown Sulaimani, Iraqi Kurdistan, throwing rocks and trying to storm the headquarters of one of the ruling parties, according to local media reports and unofficial sources.
 
The bloody incident happened in front of the headquarters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), led by Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani, after KDP security men shot at the protesters during their storming of the building.
The dead reportedly included a child under 18 years old, and two journalists were among the wounded.  
The protesters were calling for more political and economic reforms in the Kurdistan region’s government, dominated by the KDP and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, led by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.
[…]
Although the demonstration comes after statements made by Kurdistan’s major opposition Gorran party, which called upon the “corrupt” Kurdish government to step down, Gorran officials have denied being behind the bloody demonstration.
[…]
 
Peshmerga forces arrive in Sulaimaniya
Aswat al-Iraq, 2/18/2011 2:05 PM
http://en.aswataliraq.info/Default1.aspx?page=article_page&id=141053&l=1
SULAIMANIYA / Aswat al-Iraq: Peshmerga forces arrived on Friday in Sulaimaniya to maintain security and to protect institutions and public properties after clashes between protestors and guards of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, during which scores were killed or wounded, according to a media source from the KDP.
[…] Seven persons were killed and 47 wounded when protesters clashed with police on Thursday in the northern Iraqi city of Sulaimaniya.
[,,,] Sulaimaniya Governor Dana Ahmad Majid announced a curfew from 7:00pm on Friday until 7:00am on Saturday because of the deterioration of security condition.
SH (TP)
Sulaimaniya protesters dispersed by water cannons, shots in air
Aswat Al Iraq, 2/19/2011 8:17 PM
http://en.aswataliraq.info/Default1.aspx?page=article_page&id=141070
SULAIMANIYA / Aswat al-Iraq: Security forces in Sulaimaniya dispersed protesters in the Kurdish city Saturday by using water cannons and shooting fire in the air, a local security source said.
“The protesters, located about 500 meters away from the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), were forced to withdraw to side roads after security forces used water cannons and shot fire in the air,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.
A medic told Aswat al-Iraq that eight people, including a policeman, were wounded in the incidents.
Hundreds of protesters took to the streets in Sulaimaniya to demand better living conditions, an end to corruption and political reforms.
Unrest continued Friday in Sulaimaniya, where personnel from the security agencies, police and peshmerga (Kurdish forces) were intensively deployed to keep order and security and prevent a possible outbreak of violence.
Protests and acts of violence sparked the concerns of the semi-autonomous Iraq Kurdistan region inhabitants that they might move to other areas.
KDP deputy leader Nejervan Barzani had said on Friday that the politburos of the KDP and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the two main Kurdish parties, discussed during a meeting ways to unify stances regarding the incidents that broke out in Sulaimaniya and efforts to solve the problems.
AmR (TS)
Kurdish TV Channel burnt down while carrying reports on Sulaimaniya events
Aswat al-Iraq, 2/20/2011 10:56 AM
http://en.aswataliraq.info/Default1.aspx?page=article_page&id=141075&l=1
SULAIMANIYA / Aswat al-Iraq: A group of armed men have attacked the office of the Kurdish (NRT) Channel in northern Sulaimaniya, completely burning it and wounding one of its guards, a security source said.
„About 30 armed men have broken through the Kurdish NRT Channel in the so-called „German Village“ north of Sulaimaniya, wounding one of its guards in the chest and completely burning its office. This caused disruptions to the transmission of the channel that used to carry out reports about recent demonstrations and the city,“ the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.
[…]
Sulaimaniya Govenor, Pahruz Mohammed, had announced a curfew between 07:00 p.m. and 07:00 a.m. local time, whilst three headquarters of the Kurdish opposition Goran (Change) Movement were set on fire in Arbil, Dohuk and Suran cities, causing no injuries.
[…]
Meanwhile, an eyewitness told Aswat al-Iraq news agency that the said Channel „had been carrying out an experimental transmission over the past three weeks, and began its actual transmission three days ago, and had been carrying out reports about the demonstrations in Sulaimaniya, during which it carried video shots of a young man, called Rizwan, who was shot dead during the demonstrations, along with other shots by the security forces on the demonstrators, close the headquarters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party.
Noteworthy is that the said Channel, led by Twana Othman, who held the post of Editor-in-Chief of the Kurdish Hawlaty newspaper, that used to carry reports against the government of north Iraq’s Kurdistan Region’s government.
Gunmen torch Iraqi TV station that showed protest
AP, 20/02/2011
http://aawsat.com/english/news.asp?section=1&id=24233
SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq, (AP) – Gunmen burst into a Kurdish television station in northern Iraq on Sunday, shooting up the equipment and setting fire to the building, apparently in retaliation for footage they aired earlier in the week of a deadly protest, station officials said.
[…]
Press Release From NRT: Iraqi Kurdistan: Independent TV headquarters burnt down By Hiwa Osman, February 20, 2011
http://hiwaosman.com/2011/02/iraqi-kurdistan-independent-tv-headquarters-burnt-down/

Forces suspected of ties to the authorities completely destroyed and burnt down Iraqi Kurdistan ’s first private Television Station, Nalia Radio and Television, NRT.
Around 50 armed individuals masked and in dark uniform stormed the gate of a residential community, the German Village, in the early hours of the morning of February 19th, in Sulemaniya.