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Protesters Torch KDP Offices in Iraq

Kurdish protesters attend a rally against the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in Sulaimaniyah, Iraq, Dec. 18, 2017.

Protesters set fire to the offices of the ruling party Monday in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region amid widespread protests over unpaid salaries and suspected corruption.

Kurds demanding the resignation of the ruling Kurdish Democratic Party torched its offices in the city of Sulaimaniyah in northern Iraq. Reporters for VOA's Kurdish Service said fires were also set at offices of the the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), Change Movement, Islamic Union of Kurdistan (Yekgirtu), and Islamic Group (Komela), all in Sulaimania province.

The Kurdish Service said demonstrations were taking place across much of the province, sparked by frustration over unpaid salaries to teachers and other civil servants, a lack of basic services and suspicions of rampant corruption.

Rabun Maroof, a member of the Iraqi Kurdistan regional parliament who participated in the protests in the city of Sulaimaniyah, told VOA that the demonstrations will continue until the fall of the region’s government. Maroof, a member of the opposition Movement for Change party, added ominously that if change did not come through peaceful means, there will be other strategies. He did not elaborate.

No casualties were immediately reported from Monday's protest.

Tensions have been high in Kurdish Iraq in the wake of a September referendum in which Kurds voted overwhelmingly in support of independence from Iraq. The Iraqi government responded by seizing oil-rich territory held by the autonomous Kurdish administration, causing economic hardship for many Kurds.

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Protesters Torch KDP Offices in Iraq
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