Shafaq News/ The Metro Center on Sunday issued a stern rebuke against the Iraqi security forces' response to peaceful demonstrators in the northern governorate of Kirkuk.
"We strongly condemn the targeting of peaceful protesters by the Iraqi security forces in the city of Kirkuk, as well as the attacks on media teams covering the Kirkuk events," the center said in a statement.
Recent days in Kirkuk have witnessed escalated tensions, underscored by a sit-in by predominantly Arab and Turkmen citizens outside the headquarters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). The headquarters, taken over by paramilitary groups following the 2017 fall out with the federal government, was expected to be handed back to the Kurdish party per an agreement among the members of the State Administration Coalition.
"Another group of citizens, backed by armed factions from the militias, blocked the road connecting Kirkuk and Erbil, demanding that the headquarters not be vacated and refusing its handover back to the KDP."
This blockade, facilitated by various security apparatuses, unlawfully sealed a crucial strategic route linking Iraqi Kurdistan to the capital, Baghdad, and other Iraqi regions.
"All of this was done under the protection and patronage of various security apparatuses, even though the closure of such a vital and strategic road is contrary to the law," the statement emphasized.
The center pointed out that this blockade "harmed the economic interests of many citizens, delayed the arrival of several patients receiving treatment in regional hospitals, and forced numerous tourists from central and southern Iraq to return to their cities due to the road's closure."