Iraqi premier reiterates call for ‘accountability’, as Kirkuk protest wanes

He called on the political parties in Kirkuk to “uphold civil peace” and avoid further escalations.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia' Al-Sudani (top center) chairing a weekly cabinet meeting in Baghdad, Sept. 3, 2023. (Photo: Iraqi premier's office)
Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia' Al-Sudani (top center) chairing a weekly cabinet meeting in Baghdad, Sept. 3, 2023. (Photo: Iraqi premier's office)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ Al-Sudani on Sunday reiterated calls for ensuring accountability on the killing of Kurdish protesters by the security forces in Kirkuk a day earlier, urging the political parties to safeguard peace. 

The premier’s remarks came during the weekly cabinet meeting in Baghdad, where he addressed the violent crackdown on Kurdish protestors in Kirkuk on Saturday evening, during which at least four Kurdish protestors were killed while 14 others were wounded.

Al-Sudani “encourage[ed] the authorities to promptly ensure accountability for those responsible for the casualties and injuries, in accordance with legal procedures,” according to a press release from the premier’s office.

He called on the political parties in Kirkuk to “uphold civil peace” and avoid further escalations.

Kurdish protestors on Saturday afternoon poured into the popular Raheemawa street to demand the reopening of the Kirkuk-Erbil main road that was closed for about a week by the members of Shiite militia forces against the Kurdistan Democratic Party’s (KDP) return to the multi-ethnic province.

The protests ended when the militia members reopened the main road, whose closure had negatively impacted the livelihoods of the local population.

The ruling Kurdish party has ceased all its operations in Kirkuk since 2017 in protest of the military takeover of the oil-rich province by the Iranian-backed militias and Iraqi army.

The militias’ protest comes as the political parties, including the KDP, are set to run in the provincial elections in December. The Kurdish parties won the majority seats of the Kirkuk provincial council in the last election.

Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani on Sunday ordered the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Ministry of Martyrs and Anfal Affairs to register the killed protestors in Kirkuk as “martyrs” and provide medical assistance to the wounded, the spokesperson announced.

Read More: Killed protestors in Kirkuk to be registered as ‘martyrs’ by KRG, decrees PM Barzani