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April 4, 2011

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Day 46 of the protest in Sulaimany

Kurdishaspect.com - By Shenah Abdullah 

Today like the 45 days before, the crowd was out in Maidani Azadi. People in large numbers came out again to chat, read poems, speak about corruption and condemn the arrest, beating and harassment of protesters, journalists, students, teachers, and Mullas. There was a petition going around among the protesters to be singed for the release of Mullah Kamaran; the NRT journalist Dana; Salahadin teacher Rzgar and four students from the University of Sulaimany who have been arrested the past 3 days. People were also very angry about the police-Asaish-Peshmarga- terror squad forces brutal crackdown on the protesters. Starting on the 1st of April and continuing yesterday, 2nd of April, the four above mentioned forces were spread all over the major streets of Sulaimani armed with batons, tear gas, tazor guns, weapons of all different kinds started closing down on the areas the protesters were gathered. In places where the young protesters were loud and visible around small burning fires, the forces started brutally beating them. Among the people being hit were independent journalists, photographers and media personal trying to document the event. We have seen firsthand accounts of brutal beating of people, breakage of media equipment and harassment of men, women and children. 

One of the men hit. Little Alawyi, was also hit, “I have my own now!” The protesters and journalists were attacked on the first day of April. That same day shots were fired for nearly 45 minutes. Luckily, no one was hit by bullets. The injuries-both from the protesters and forces on the street resulted from rocks, batons, and the back of weapons. On the second day of April like day before it, more people were hit, harassed and arrested. 

Among the people missing/arrested are the following: Mullah Kamaran Ali, who was an active speaker in Maidani Azadi. The authorities say they have arrested him because he used the word ‘jihad’. He has been taken away from his home since last Tuesday. Two days ago, on Friday NRT journalist Dana was also arrested and it is still not clear who has him where! Another person missing is a high school teacher by the name of Rezgar. He is taught at Salahadin high school and happened to be with protesters on the first day of April. One of the journalist we spoke to today has footage of the arrest of Rezar. First he is caught and then he is beaten by the back of a weapon. The journalist said he has video of it all taking place and that injured man who is clearly bleeding badly in the neck is taken to the hospital by the police themselves. We are not sure what has happened to him after that- but most people I spoke with say after treatment they have taken him to a prison somewhere. On the same day four students from the University of Sulaimany were also beaten and arrested. Their names are the following: Pshtiwan latif, Shakhawan Muhammad, Shahow Majeed and Dana Ahmed Muhammed. The students at the University of Sulaimany were present in Maidani Azadi asking for the release of their colleagues. Later this evening, the students from the Evening Language College (the Kurdish department) stayed out and demanded the release of their friend Shahow Majeed. They wanted to go on strike but under pressure in the end they decided to go into their classes. These latest updates were given to us by the head of the one the students group by the name of Ako Xafor.

Things have changed in the past three days. During the day and until 5:30 everyday, things are peaceful and normal. After that and with the help of the setting sun, the authorities came out in large numbers and blindly attack and harass protesters and anyone who is present at the scene. We were told today that tomorrow will be an important day. The group heading Maidani Azadi told the protesters that tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. they will read their final memo to the public. “Tomorrow you will be given our final decision and message to the government.” Things might take a turn for the better or perhaps for the worse. We shall wait and see. Please keep us in mind tomorrow. Whatever happened tomorrow, it needs to be covered and talked about both locally and internationally. We need you attention!!!!

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