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Iraqi Kurdistan Announces State of Emergency

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TEHRAN, April 12 (ICANA) – Although their numbers have visibly decreased, thousands are still taking to the main square in the city of Sulaymaniyah, protesting against the region government that they accuse of being corrupt and inefficient.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011 10:19:32 AM
Iraqi Kurdistan Announces State of Emergency

Over the last 7 weeks, At least 8 people have killed in the protests which spread out to surrounding areas, but not, notably, to the capital Erbil.

As various student groups and opposition activists have attempted to plan demonstrations, they have been arrested by the security and military forces of the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party - operating under emergency laws that forbid public gatherings, and take away the powers of the city's governor to grant them permission.

Under the current arrangement, the Governor of Erbil can no longer grant permission for demonstrations - powers transferred directly to President Barzani and the KDP.

Government spokespeople insist that security and people's safety are their only concern.

The Minister for Peshmerga, the military forces of Iraqi Kurdistan, told parliament on Sunday that he had no authority over the Peshmerga in Erbil city - that they were being commanded by the KDP apparatus.

As President Barzani publicly encourages the ongoing talks between leaders of the opposition and government, analysts say, this disempowering of the Erbil governor coupled with the large-scale mass arrests witness in recent days, points to a growing anxiety on the part of the government, to be able to negotiate from a position of strength.

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