ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The leading Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) released a statement on Monday denying rumors that the Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga was involved in causing unrest during protests in Baghdad and other central and southern provinces.
In its statement, the KDP’s politico bureau reminded that Iraqis “are exercising a right within the constitution” by demonstrating and protesting.
The KDP statement warned Iraqis to be careful of “poisonous rumors” that “threaten social peace and the safety of the homeland by involving the name of your brothers from the Peshmerga for being responsible for the incidents that accompanied the demonstrations.”
The protests in Iraq over the past month and a half reflect widespread dissatisfaction with the economy, including high levels of unemployment, the dismal state of public services, and widespread government corruption.
Demonstrators are calling for radical change in Iraq’s political system, which they say fails to address their needs, but, rather, serves the interests of a small governing elite.
According to Iraq’s High Commission for Human Rights, since they began in early October, widespread protests in Iraq have resulted in the deaths of over 300, while more than 12,000 have been injured, mainly due to clashes with protestors and security forces.
The KDP statement underlined that the Peshmerga, who were instrumental in defeating the so-called Islamic State, “has been a shield for all Iraqis.”
The Peshmerga is “part of the [Iraqi] defense system and are brothers to you,” it added. “Peshmerga’s name is far from being tarnished with something that doesn’t satisfy the conscience and the homeland.”
“The enemies of the national cohesion are trying to throw false accusations to divert the course of events in a way that meets suspicious interests,” the statement concluded.