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Teenager dies, 39 hurt in fresh clashes in Iraq's Kurdistan

From Mohammed Tawfeeq, CNN
Iraqi Kurdish protesters demonstrated against the government in the city of Sulaimaniya on Sunday.
Iraqi Kurdish protesters demonstrated against the government in the city of Sulaimaniya on Sunday.
  • Most of the demonstrators oppose the Kurdistan regional president
  • The shooting takes place when protesters throw stones at security forces who open fire
  • The protests have gone on for several days
  • Government and opposition leaders are scheduled to meet Monday for talks

Baghdad (CNN) -- A teenage boy was killed and 39 people were wounded Sunday evening when hundreds of demonstrators clashed with Kurdish security forces in Sulaimaniya in northern Iraq, officials said.

Most of the demonstrators opposed Massoud Barazani, Kurdistan regional president, and the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party.

Witnesses said that dozens of angry demonstrators threw stones at security forces who were trying to disperse them using water cannons.

Eleven of the demonstrators were wounded when the security forces opened fire, said Dr. Hawar Hassan, director of Sulaimaniya's emergency police. The teenager, a 17-year-old boy, died from wounds he suffered in the shooting.

In addition, 12 security officials were also hurt, Hassan said.

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  • Kurdistan

Also Sunday, masked gunmen attacked and burned an independent television station, wounding a guard.

In a statement, NRT TV said 50 armed attackers stormed a gated community called "German Village" where the station is located.

The attackers fired weapons at broadcast equipment and burned the entire building, wounding one NRT guard, according to the statement.

NRT, the first independent television station in northern Iraq, started broadcasting on February 17, and was the only station to air footage of shots fired at demonstrators on the first day of the protests, according to the statement.

On Saturday, clashes between police and protesters in Sulaimaniya injured 14 people, according to a regional health official.

Witnesses said police used water cannons and fired weapons over the heads of rock-throwing demonstrators who had taken to the streets to protest the violent response of security forces that killed one demonstrator and injured 57 who attacked the local offices of the Kurdistan Democratic Party.

Saturday's protesters shouted "Down, down with Massoud Barzani" in a demonstration that began at 11:30 a.m. and lasted several hours.

The violence followed another demonstration by hundreds of students at Sulaimaniya University seeking the release of people arrested in previous protests and the prosecution of a local party official they said ordered security forces to open fire.

On Thursday, Barzani issued a statement saying the protests were the work of a "very small group of people determined to undermine the stability of the region."

The regional government is organizing a meeting between government leaders and representatives of opposition groups scheduled for Monday, according to the statement.

The protests are the latest in a string of recent demonstrations across Iraq, apparently inspired by popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia and focusing on complaints of rampant unemployment and poor government services.

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