- Demonstrators blame federal government in Baghdad over oil revenue issues
BAGHDAD (Agencies): Rare protests erupted in the city of Dohuk in the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq on Tuesday, calling on the federal government in Baghdad to pay civil servant salaries.
Demonstrators waved the regional flag to express solidarity with the Kurds in Kirkuk after demonstrations there turned deadly on Saturday.
In Tuesday’s protests people also held up banners that read: “Iraq has become a state of chaos and militias instead of being a place for the rule of law and the constitution.”
Erbil-based Kurdish media outlet Rudaw said several officials, including governor of Dohuk Ali Tatar, took part in the protests.
Mr Tatar blamed Dohuk’s lack of oil revenue for the salary issue.
“When we had oil, we distributed salaries properly. What is 500b dinars ($381m) enough for?” he said, according to Rudaw.
In March, a dispute between Baghad and Erbil escalated over revenue sharing and oil production after the International Chamber of Commerce ruled against Kurdistan’s unilateral oil exports under its own 2007 law.
Since March 25, more than 450,000 b/d of oil that usually heads to the Mediterranean remains offline amid lingering issues among Baghdad, Erbil and Ankara over the resumption of flows.
On Saturday, four people were killed in violent demonstrations in the multi-ethnic, oil-rich city of Kirkuk which has been claimed by Kurds, Arabs and Turkmen after the 2003 US invasion of Iraq.
Since then, tension has been high inside the city among these groups as Kurds pushed for annexing it to their three-province Kurdistan region.
After the 2017 controversial Kurdish referendum on independence, Baghdad moved troops to Kirkuk and expelled the Peshmerga, the Kurdish local security forces, closing the headquarters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, one of the two powerful political parties in the Kurdistan region.