Opposition’s joint press release on the anniversary of 17 February demonstrations and events

The general public

Young protestor, 2011

Young protestor, 2011

The political parties

Families of martyrs of 17 February

Members and supporters

One year has passed on the events of 17 February and thereafter when a large proportion of the general public began demanding their legal and constitutional rights in a civilised manner, requesting a radical political reform and fairness in distributing Kurdistan revenues, this was their natural rights. Unfortunately, instead of taking the opportunity to address their shortcomings and take responsibility for their actions, the ruling parties responded to them with suppression and violence. This resulted in the tragic death of numerous innocent people and injuring many others. In addition they looted and burned the Change movement’s offices in Hawler, terrorised the Kurdistan Islamic union and the Kurdistan Islamic group in their own offices in Hawler and Slemani.

Later, in an attempt to normalise the situation, the demonstrators created a number of freedom squares where they made their demands in a peaceful manner for the duration of two month. They showed a strong and prolonged determination to achieve their demands, but the ruling parties militarised the cities, supressed the demonstrators using a harsh crackdown and burned the freedom square stages. In response to this wicked act, and in order to maintain the stability and security of the region, as well as avoiding bloodshed, the freedom square councils along with the oppositions formulated the demands, presented as a 22 point reform project, which later further developed into a six-package project in order to motivate the ruling parties to implement it.

During these times, parliament and regional presidency issued several decisions and decrees regarding the events and people’s demands, but unfortunately the ruling parties failed to implement the demands of the public and oppositions, not only sheltering the state killers, but also carrying out arbitrary arrests of political activists, journalists and intellectuals and torturing them. At the later stage, during the Badinan events, the ruling parties once again responded to the public’s demands by burning opposition offices.

Now, one year has passed since this historical event and we as opposition parties highly respect and honour the martyrs and say to their families: they did not lose their lives for nothing; they are among those freedom fighters and reformists that throughout history have sacrificed for the sake of humanity.

We renew our vow to the martyrs and the people of Kurdistan that we will continue working towards bringing about political reforms and achieving the public’s demands, using every civil and democratic mechanism to implement the joint reform projects.

We therefore say to the people of Kurdistan and the oppositions’ supporters: we continue to support and defend your demands and rights. We believe demonstration and the freedom to speak out against injustice and corruption are your natural rights, but because of the sensitive circumstances in Kurdistan and Iraq at present, we have no intention to participate in the demonstrations. It is important to us that this anniversary remains live. Also, we condemn any measures of violence and suppression that might be put in place, using military forces, should peaceful demonstrations occur.

The Change Movement

The Kurdistan Islamic Union

The Kurdistan Islamic Group

16 Februay 2012

One Response to Opposition’s joint press release on the anniversary of 17 February demonstrations and events
  1. Ciaran MacAoidh
    February 19, 2012 | 21:28

    I think it is a mistake for Gorran not too support and take part in popular peaceful demonstrations. The Kurdish people have come so far in this fight and allowing a militaristic move like this to push you off the streets allows the KRG a victory they don’t deserve.

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