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Clashes injure 35 in Iraq's Kurdistan
Sun, 17 Apr 2011 23:37:47 GMT
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Iraqi Kurdish protesters demonstrate against the government in the city of Sulaymanieh (file photo).
Clashes between police and protesters in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region have left at least 35 people injured, including seven policemen, reports say.

In recent months, protests have flared up in the region's second largest city of Sulaymanieh, where thousands of people have spilled out into the streets to protest against corruption and a lack of freedom.

Police fired shots, used tear gas and batons to disperse the protesters on Sunday.

Seven protesters also suffered bullet wounds and some others were hurt by batons or tear gas, Reuters quoted police and witnesses as saying.

Rekawt Hama Rasheed, general director of the health office in Sulaymanieh, said that seven policemen suffered exposure to tear gas.

Several people were also taken into custody, including journalists, but the exact figure is not known, he said.

Two journalists were among the wounded, one of them a photographer, who was shot while covering the clashes, said Rahman Gharib, an editor at the Kurdish weekly newspaper Hawalati.

Kurdistan is dominated by just two parties, the PUK and the regional president's Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).

President of Iraq's Kurdistan region Massoud Barzani had announced plans last month to shake up the regional government and enact reforms, but demonstrators wanted more reforms.

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