Protests Erupt in Kirkuk over Shop Demolitions by Governor
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Protests Erupt in Kirkuk over Shop Demolitions by Governor

ERBIL — Tensions flared in a Kirkuk's Kurdish neighborhood of as a series of shop demolitions, reportedly directed by the Baghdad-appointed governor Rakan al-Jabouri, ignited protests among local shopkeepers.

Information obtained by BasNews indicated that several shops were razed in Panja Ali neighborhood of Kirkuk city on Sunday, March 3, allegedly under the directive of Governor Jabouri.

The move is believed to be part of an initiative by the imposed administration of Kirkuk to allocate the shop premises to an Arab businessman from Anbar province for investment purposes.

Angered by the demolitions, shopkeepers took to the streets in protest during the afternoon, blocking the main road between Kirkuk and Laylan to voice their opposition to the decision imposed by the local administration.

Rakan al-Jabouri assumed his position as governor of Kirkuk following a military intervention by Iraqi forces and pro-Iranian Hashd al-Shaabi militias into the disputed Kurdish territories in October 2017.

The incident adds to the longstanding grievances faced by Kurds in Kirkuk and surrounding areas, characterized by a persistent campaign of Arabization since the Iraqi Army and pro-Iranian Hashd al-Shaabi took control of the disputed territories in 2017.

Historically, Kirkuk has been a focal point of demographic manipulation, notably during Saddam Hussein's Baath regime in the 1980s when thousands of Arab families were resettled in the city as part of a crackdown on the Kurdish population.

Although many were repatriated following the fall of the regime in 2003, the resurgence of non-indigenous Arab resettlement in the disputed territories in 2017 has reignited tensions and fueled discontent among the Kurdish community.

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