SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Security forces in Erbil on Thursday attacked Esta Media Network reporter and cameraman as they were covering protests of students in the Kurdistan Region’s capital.
For the third day in a row, dozens of students of universities and institutes protested in Erbil against the suspension of their monthly stipends.
Esta Media Network reporter and cameraman were attacked by the security forces three times as they were covering the demonstrations, reporter Ayub Ali said.
“Part of the security forces wearing civil clothes attacked us three times in 15 minutes,” the reporter noted.
“They seized the journalist equipment and the vehicle,” he said.
The team was able to take the equipment back with the help of the students, he added, but the car was still seized.
“The security forces say we should erase clips we have recorded then they will return the vehicle,” he added.
The Metro Center for Journalists’ Rights and Advocacy said it had received dozens of complaints from journalists who had been attacked during the protests.
It called on the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to abide by the Iraqi constitution and laws of the Kurdistan Region to provide freedom of journalism and freedom of peaceful protests.
Reporters’ Organization for Rights and Development said in a statement that Esta Media Network’s reporter Ayub Ali and cameraman Yousif Faris were attacked four times in 16 minutes during the protests.
“We call on the international organizations and consulates in the Kurdistan Region to take stance against violations carried out by the security services, that attack journalists and forcefully confiscate their journalist equipment,” it added.
“We reiterate that the disrespect against journalists is not acceptable because it is against the law.”