KRG PM Barzani hit with eggs during visit to London
The convoy of Masrour Barzani, prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), was hit with eggs thrown by angry Kurdish protestors in London on Wednesday.
Moreover, several of the protests participants told The New Arab that they have been threatened by the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).
On Wednesday noon while Barzani was on his way to the Chatham House building in London to "discuss the challenges and obstacles to reform in Kurdistan." Hundreds of Kurds residing in the UK gathered to protest his visit.
"We gathered in London to protest against [Barzani's] visit to the UK and his plans to export the Kurdistan region's gas to Europe since we know it would not be in the interests of the people of Kurdistan," said Shivan Azad, a Kurdish activist who participated in the protest, to The New Arab via a secure messaging application from London. "We will make London hell for all corrupt Kurdish officials."
"We are angry at Kurdish officials because we had to leave our birthplace of Kurdistan because of political reasons, the failure of the KRG and the suppression by the two Kurdish ruling families of the Barzanis and the Talabanis. We have suffered a lot of agony in our journey to arrive in the UK," Azad added.
According to live coverage by the NRT Kurdish broadcaster from the scene, protestors chanted: "Terrorist Barzani". Footage published online also shows that as soon as Barzani's car arrived at the scene it was hit with numerous eggs.
Kurdish protesters hurl eggs at convoy of KRG PM Masrour Barzani in London #Esta #Kurdistan #Britain #TwitterKurds pic.twitter.com/SUIS4uI1mJ— Esta (@Esta_krd) April 20, 2022
But since these events, several Kurds who participated in the protest have said to The New Arab that they have been threatened by Kurdish officials.
"Since yesterday, hundreds of threatening messages from the UK and the Iraqi Kurdistan region have been sent to me just for participating in the protest," Azad said, stressing that these threats will not silence him.
"I am originally from Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region, and I participated in the protest as faithfulness to the mother of Martyr Sardasht Othman," he added.
Sardasht Osman was a 23-year-old Kurdish freelance journalist from Erbil who was murdered on 5 May 2010 after he published articles criticising the ruling Barzani family.
"We consider all the Kurdish ruling officials as 'terrorists'. Before 2002, the KDP and its rival the ruling Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) were on the terror list of the European Union," Barez Zamdar, another Kurd living in the UK, said to The New Arab.
"The KDP threatened to deport me from the UK back to the Kurdistan region and then kill me. They also threatened to find me in the UK and harm me," he added.
Mohamed Rasul, a Kurdish human rights activist, was also severely wounded by British police as they prevented him from attacking Barzani in front of the Chatham House. Rasul is now being treated at the hospital, Ragaz Kamal, founder of the 17 Shubat Organization for Human Rights, wrote on Facebook.
The New Arab contacted the KRG representation in the UK, as well as Jotyar Adil, the KRG spokesperson, for comments but they were not available.
A day prior to the protest, Barzani met with UK PM Boris Johnson in Downing Street.
"Prime Minister Barzani spoke about his aspiration to export energy to Europe, and the Prime Minister lauded his efforts to help reduce Western reliance on Russian oil and gas," reads a statement by the UK government about the meeting.