Retired police personnel stage demonstration in Kirkuk

Kirkuk, 11 October 2020 – demonstration by retired police personnel – photo: Soran Mohammed

Soran Mohammed - Kirkuk

137 police retirees are demanding the Kirkuk administration to grant them residential land plots. An order by the Ministry of Interior to grant some of them has been issued more than 10 years ago, but they haven’t been given any land yet.

Today (Sunday 11 October 2020), dozens of retired policemen and people with disabilities gathered in front of the Kirkuk provincial government building demanding that the administration act according to the orders of the Iraqi Ministry of Interior for granting them the land plots.

Salar Aziz, one of the participants in the protest, told KirkukNow: "I have an order to get a plot issued since 2010, but haven’t been given the plot yet. The mayor and other parties are stalling the implementation of the decision."

Salar was injured in an explosion while he was serving as a policeman.

"I lost an eye and have undergone seven surgeries for my arm. I went through all of this to defend my city, and now all we are asking for is our right and the implementation of the land distribution orders," Salar said.

Most of those who are named in the ministerial order to be granted land plots used to be police personnel who are now retired due to advanced age or disabilities.

Salman Abdullah, who was injured in one of the clashes in Kirkuk City and now uses a wheelchair, was one of the participants in the protest. He said: "Since 2008, I have been frequenting government institutions to give me a plot of land, but no one cares. We turned to all sides, and we don’t know who can help us."

He added that they will not be content with the destruction of other people's homes in order to obtain residential plots, as it is currently rumoured that the campaign to remove houses without permits is for the purpose of clearing land to be given to the retirees.

Several months ago, the Kirkuk Administration launched a campaign to remove homes illegally built on state-owned land.

Falah Yaychli, mayor of the Kirkuk Centre district, told KirkukNow: “It is true that orders have been issued to distribute residential lands to 137 retired policemen and 560 families of martyrs. And the task [to implement is order] is on us.”

According to Yaychli the illegally built houses will be removed and the land will be distributed in less than six months.

Yaychli said that the 137 retirees will be given plots of land near Laylan Bridge.

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