"> Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) opposition party HQ set on fire in Zakho

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December 3, 2011

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Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) opposition party HQ set on fire in Zakho

The Kurdistan Tribune

The local headquarters of the Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) – an opposition political party represented  in the Kurdistan Parliament – was attacked and set on fire today, 2 December, in the town of Zakho.

Prior to the attack hundreds of local people took part in a demonstration following Friday prayers, culminating in sporadic attacks on local off-licenses and massage parlours.  However, the KIU had nothing to do with these events. Unlike the ruling parties it does not have a private militia and it has always advocated a peaceful solution to the problems facing the region.

A  KIU spokesman told local reporters that the party holds the town’s security officials responsible for the arson attack which happened after KDP militiamen opened fire on the demonstrators, injuring 15 people. The KIU has been unable to calculate the full extent of the damage to its Branch 13 HQ (which houses its local TV  and radio station), because security officers have taken control of the building.

While this story has been covered by all the opposition TV stations, it has been ignored by the TV stations of the two ruling parties.

Some commentators believe today’s protest in Zhako was not really about religion but more a reflection of underlying popular discontent with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Yesterday there was a protest in Erbil, the KRG capital, about poor public services.

Ahmed Mira, editor of Lvinpress, told Speeda TV that the situation shows that the authorities are still influenced by a culture of violence.

Awena’s editor, Shwan Mohammed, compared the incident to the attack on the Gorran offices two years ago and the killing of 12 KIU members in 2005. He said the local protests could culminate in an explosion of popular anger. This view was echoed by The Kurdistan Tribune’s editor-in-chief, Mufid Abdulla, who recently returned to the UK from a visit to the Kurdistan Region. “Kurdistan is on the edge of revolution”, he said.

We have to ask why there seems to be a pattern of burning the offices of opposition parties in KDP-controlled towns.

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