Thousands of protesters filled Tahrir Square in the center of the northern Iraqi city of Sulaimaniyah on Feb. 22, in an ongoing campaign against the two entrenched political parties that have divided power in the Kurdish autonomous region (KDP and PUK). Three young protesters have been killed and more than 100 wounded in Sulaimaniyah since the campaign began last week. Demonstrators carried banners reading, “Don’t Forget Hosni Mubarak,” referring to the Egyptian president who was overthrown after massive protests on Cairo’s Tahrir Square. In a bid to prevent further violence, several demonstrators wore white shirts inscribed with the words, “Wall of Peace,” and stood between the bulk of the protesters and security forces.
Iraqi officials have attempted to head off nationwide rallies in recent days by cutting the pay of ministers and lawmakers, boosting funds dedicated to food for the needy, and delaying the implementation of new import tariffs that would raise prices on goods. (Middle East Online, Feb. 22)