ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Despite the restrictions and arrests by the Iraqi army and Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi militias, people in the city of Kirkuk on Monday continued to celebrate Kurdish Clothing Day.
Kurdish schools in Kirkuk celebrated the event, ignoring a ban imposed by Iraqi authorities which prevents the Kurds from raising the Kurdistan flag.
The Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Ministry of Education introduced the national event in 2010.
A Kurdistan 24 correspondent in Kirkuk visited some of the schools which marked the celebrations by wearing their traditional Kurdish clothes, performing Kurdish dances, and planting trees.
One of the participants, speaking to Kurdistan 24 while raising the Kurdish flag over his shoulders, said, “Kirkuk is a Kurdistani city, those who were behind the events following Oct. 16 should know that the Peshmerga forces will return.”
“I hope people wear Kurdish dress and raise the Kurdistan flag in all areas and neighborhoods of Kirkuk,” a Kurdish student said.
A security source stated that the US-trained Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service had arrested three Kurds in Kirkuk’s Rizgari and 16 Ab neighborhoods over raising the Kurdistan flag in Kirkuk, Shafaq News reported.
In a tweet on its account, the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service stated that “strict measures” would be taken against anyone who uses political and social occasions to organize gatherings that promote a separatist ideology or raise flags other than Iraq’s.
According to the letter issued by Kirkuk University on March 5, administrators asked security forces to prevent anyone wearing Kurdish clothes from entering the campus.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany