IRAQ KURD POLICE ARREST 13 TEACHERS AHEAD OF DEMO

SULAIMANI (Iraq's Kurdistan region), -- Iraqi Kurdish PUK authorities in the city of Sulaimani arrested 13 teachers on Thursday, police said, ahead of a demonstration over unpaid public sector salaries.

Police spokesman Sarkawt Ahmed confirmed 13 arrests, but without giving the circumstances. Sulaimani province is controlled by Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) party.

According to a member of the local teachers' council, Adil Hassan, 14 teachers were arrested at their homes before they were due to join a demonstration outside the regional education ministry that went ahead without them.

Clashes with security forces broke out at a Nov 19 demonstration in Sulaimani that drew a crowd of more than 5,000 people, also over unpaid wages.

With the autonomous Kurdistan region of northern Iraq in financial crisis due to falling oil prices and the costs of battling jihadists, public sector workers in the oil-rich region have staged several protest strikes since last year.

Kurdish teachers have gone on strike for the past two months in Sulaimani and Halabja, as well as in the Raparin and Garmyan administrations in Iraq's Kurdistan Region as a protest against the Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) austerity measures to cope with the economic crisis and overdue salaries.

Source: Nam News Network