ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is prepared to treat wounded protesters from central and southern Iraqi provinces, a health ministry statement said, as the country’s unrest continues despite Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi’s resignation.
A statement from the KRG Ministry of Health expressed “the readiness” of all of the Kurdistan Region’s hospitals “to receive and treat” injured persons. It also called for peaceful demonstrations and wished a speedy recovery for victims of the ongoing violence.
Widespread anti-corruption protests began two months ago. A crackdown by members of the Iraqi security forces has led to the deaths of over 400 participants, according to unofficial statistics. They have also wounded upward of 16,000 demonstrators.
When they began taking to the streets at the start of October, demonstrators expressed stark grievances about the lack of jobs, poor government services, and widespread corruption. They have since called for radical change in Iraq’s political system, which they say fails to address their needs, but instead serves the interests of a small governing elite.
The unrest saw its bloodiest day on Thursday in the capital of Baghdad and the southern cities of Nasiriya and Najaf after protesters torched the Iranian consulate in Najaf. The security forces killed over 40 people as they dispersed the crowds with live rounds.
In response to a call by Iraq’s top Shia cleric, Ali al-Sistani, Prime Minister Abdul Mahdi announced his intention to step down on Friday. Two days later, the Iraqi Parliament voted to accept Abdul Mahdi’s resignation in an extraordinary session, putting an end to just over a year-old rule.
Despite this, protests have persisted. Local media reports showed protesters near the Iranian consulate in Najaf again, with a fire raging in the background. Demonstrators also reportedly shut down the Diwaniya governorate office as well as an oil depot in Basra province.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany