DEMOCRATIC EXPRESSION IN SOUTH KURDISTAN

“Our tradition is one of protest and revolt, and it is stultifying to celebrate the rebels of the past while we silence the rebels of the present.”
~ Henry Steel Commager.

More on protests against Öcalan’s capture, from Özgür Gündem:

“Peşmerge raided us for several minutes”

Selahattin University students said peşmerge raided them for several minutes and beat them to death when the students wanted to protest the tenth anniversary of the capture of the Kurdish people’s leader, Abdullah Öcalan, by Turkey in the KRG’s capital city Hewlêr on 13 February.

Among the Selahattin University students, Esmer Ahmet said they wanted to conduct a democratic protest for the condemnation of the tenth anniversary of the Kurdish people’s leader, Abdullah Öcalan, by Turkey. However, peşmerge forces tried to stop them. During their intervention, Ahmet said peşmerge cursed the students horribly, “They hit us with the butt of their weapons. Then the sound of gun shots came from all around. They raided us for ten minutes. Because of blows by weapon butts, several of our friends were wounded on various parts of their bodies and I was wounded on my hand” said Ahmet.

A student named Nalin Tunç also said, “February is a black month for any honorable Kurd” and that is why they came together to protest the tenth anniversary of Öcalan’s capture and were stopped by the peşmerge. She said “We told them that our protest was not against them but it was to condemn the international conspiracy forces by a democratic protest”. But then peşmerge intervened and Tunç was wounded on her head by a blow from a weapon butt. “During the intervention, we were exposed to horrible cursing. They started beating us as if they were beating their enemies, with weapon butts, kicking, stoning, whatever they could find. They told us ‘What are you guys doing here? Go to the mountains!” said Tunç.

Refused treatment by hospital for having attended the protest

Xezal İke also mentioned that they were attacked by the security forces, by whom they were hoping to be protected. “Almost fifteen women were wounded from blows by weapon butts to their waists, heads, and chests. They didn’t stop at this point but also they raided us for more than ten minutes. All of us went on the floor,” said İke. Pointing out the refusal of five hospitals [to treat] the student named Hüsne, who was wounded during the peşmerge intervention, because she attended the protest, İke said, “The hospitals said “We are not going to start treatment unless you get a permission paper from peşmerge forces.’ The doctor, rather than treating her, started questioning her like a police.”

Mesut Ali said that the peşmerge wanted to take the flyers and Öcalan posters that the students had in their hands and the attack was due to that. “The thing I hated most was that they were hitting women and they wanted to take away Öcalan’s posters from us.”

“They beat to death”

Mentioning that the peşmerge attacked them as if they were the enemies of the peşmerge, Bedretin Ok said, “However, they are also Kurds. I think this is a game of the enemy and a continuation of the conspiracy. They were particularly going after the person who was carrying the leadership’s poster in the march. They were shooting, not hitting us with nightsticks. There is a remarkable thing as well here, [that] they especially attacked the women and hit them more.” Because of the blows he received on his body, Ok passed out and he said, “They beat me to death.”

So much for democratic expression. But at least we can say that security forces in South Kurdistan are becoming more and more like security forces in North Kurdistan.

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