ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Erbil Police on Monday announced that a number of people had been arrested for recklessly firing bullets into the sky following the Saturday legislative elections, and denied any rumor of ballot box-rigging.
General-Director of Erbil Police Abdulkhaliq Tal’at in a press conference in the Kurdistan Region’s capital called on people not to use guns and other deadly weapons to “express their happiness” as official results from Saturday’s national election are announced.
Asked by reporters about voter fraud, he denied rumors that ballot boxes were sabotaged or that party representatives were prevented from observing the vote count, labeling the claims as “baseless rumors.”
Hours after polling stations closed on Saturday, witnessed reported people firing bullets into the sky in celebration of their parties reportedly winning their seats in this year’s elections.
Shooting also occurred in other parts of the Kurdistan Region, namely in Sulaimani where a man was filmed firing an RPG into the sky, a scene which has now gone viral on social media.
The shooting raised concerns among locals who were unsure if these were celebratory gunfire or something more sinister, such as political disagreements and clashes.
Tal’at urged people to refrain from firing weapons once official election results become public on Monday, warning that whoever is caught celebrating with gunfire or other violent means will be arrested and prosecuted.
On Saturday night alone, over 15 people were injured in Sulaimani and Garmian as a result of indiscriminate gunfire.
Editing by Nadia Riva