Iranian Kurdish Opposition Parties Back Protests in Support of Kolbars


ERBIL—Two Iranian Kurdish opposition parties condemned the killing of Kolbars (backpack carriers) by Iranian armed forces and voiced support for public rallies against killing them.

The Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (DPIK) and Kurdistan Democratic Party- Iran (KDPI) issued two separate statements on Tuesday in which they commended the stance of the Kurdish people from the city of Bana and its surrounding areas for taking to the streets against the violation.  

The recent killing of two kolbars from Bana pushed hundreds to pour to the streets on Monday and on Tuesday morning.

Security forces confronted the angry protestors who set fire to the tires and stoned some state buildings in the city.

Out of poverty and unemployment, thousands in Iranian Kurdistan have become kolbars, carrying goods and home appliance items on their backs across the borders.  

Iranian authorities have officially acknowledged the profession, yet, kolbars are usually treated as smugglers and get killed.

Condemning the measures against kolbars, the DPIK praised the public rallies in Bana as a "courageous move."

"We demand that the entire public in Kurdistan community, unanimous and undivided, unite their voice with such a move and in a common struggle and with a reinforced unity confront the suppressive behavior and policy of the [Iranian] regime."

"We declare our support for this daring and revolutionary move by the public in Bana and its surroundings, a move which is the sign of combining the struggle in the cities and on the mountains."

The DPIK and the rest of the Iranian Kurdish dissident groups have found a safe haven in the mountainous bordering areas between the Kurdistan Region and Iran. The parties are rarely involved in armed clashes across the borders.

The KDPI also indicated its support for the protests in Bana, calling on the Kurdish public from the other areas whose kolbars are targeted by Iranian armed forces "to exhibit their support and sympathy with the people in Bana in any proper method."  

In the recent protests in Bana, some 10 people have been arrested and eight have been wound. A big security force and special guards have been deployed to the city, with helicopters swirling over the sky.

Reports suggest similar protests are to take place in several other towns and cities of Iranian Kurdistan.