Only one protestor was injured by bullet, Police spokesman,

Government commission investigates Kirkuk protests gunfire

Burnt vehicles during clashes and demonstrations in Kirkuk, September 3, 2023. KirkukNow

By KirkukNow in Kirkuk

The investigation committee formed by the Iraqi Council of Ministers arrived in Kirkuk to investigate the circumstances of the events that took place in the city and to reveal those involved in the "shooting" and "rioting", after the escalation of protests which caused deaths and injuries.

The spokesman for the Kirkuk provincial police command, Lieutenant Colonel Amer Nuri, told KirkukNow that the recent incidents in the province resulted in the death of four civilians and the wounding of 19 others, according to the latest statistics.

The events of Saturday, September 2, took place after a number of residents of the Rahimawa, mainly Kurd-inhabited, neighborhood demonstrated in protest against the blocking of the main road between Kirkuk and Erbil in front of the headquarters of the Kirkuk Joint Operations Command for several days, by citizens supported by the United Arab Front.

The office of the building has been occupied by the Kurdistan Democratic Party up to October 2017 when the Iraqi Security Forces ISF. The Kurdish forces including the KDP deserted Kirkuk back to Erbil and SUlaymaniyah in the north.

The Iraqi Prime Minister took office in October 2021 has decided to return the headquarter to KDP which provoke protests by Arabs and Turkmens claimed that KDP used the office as a torture base for Arab and Turkmen civilians and even some bodies were found there back in 2017.

The events of Kirkuk came after a period of blocking the main road between Kirkuk and Erbil in front of the headquarters of the Joint Operations Command located in the Shoraw Kurdish neighborhood, in protest against Al-Sudani's decision to hand over the headquarters to the KDP.

Strikers put sit in tents in front of Kirkuk Joint Operations Command headquarters from August 27 and blocked Kirkuk-Erbil highway. Kirkuk local administration and the Iraqi government were unable to find a solution to the problem.

The blocking of the road caused traffic disruption, which made it difficult for students to reach the examination halls and prevent traders and farmers from carrying out their work, as it was difficult to reach their destinations on time.

 The organizers of September 2nd demonstration indicated in a brief statement that the aim of the demonstration is only to demand the reopening of the Kirkuk-Erbil road, which has been closed since August 27 by some Arab demonstrators supported by a political party who set up sit-in tents on the road.

The demonstration later developed into clashes and gunfire.


Anti-riot forces assume their duties during the protests, Kirkuk September 3, 2023. Kirkuk Police Media

Amer Nuri said, "Only one person among the wounded was shot, the rest were injured by stone throwing."

On the same day, the Prime Minister and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces intervened and the demonstration ended. The next day, the sit-in tents were removed from the headquarters of the Operations Command and the Kirkuk-Erbil road was reopened.

Al-Sudani ordered the formation of a higher committee to investigate the events in Kirkuk, hold accountable those whom did not fulfill their duties, involved in "shooting" and "stirring riots and sedition."

"The investigative committee formed by the Council of Ministers is currently in Kirkuk and has begun to take action," said the spokesman for the Kirkuk Police Command, adding, "Whoever is involved in shooting demonstrators will be held accountable."

The Federal Supreme Court decided, in a session held on September 3, to suspend the implementation of the PM decision to hand over the headquarters to the KDP, until the lawsuit in the case is resolved.

Lieutenant Colonel Nuri indicated that no one was killed or injured in the ranks of the sit-ins in front of the Kirkuk Operations Command headquarters, an ISF in the province.

Representatives of the Kirkuk governorate in the Iraqi parliament on Sunday, September 3, met with the Iraqi Prime Minister. According to a statement by Al-Sudani's office, it was confirmed that "the elements that committed the attacks and worked to stir up sedition will receive their just punishment in accordance with the law."

"Those suffered losses and damages, for example whose vehicles were burned, will be compensated by the state," said spokesman for the Kirkuk Police Command. He pointed out that the spokesman for the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Yahya Rasool, arrived in Kirkuk to inspect the families of the dead and wounded in the Kirkuk events.

The Kirkuk administration asked those affected by the events to register their complaints at Rahimawa Police Station to be compensated by the Prime Minister office.

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