Despite police brutality, Iraqi Turkmens continued their protest on Monday against alleged irregularities in the recent general elections.
Peaceful protests began Sunday as protesters claimed that the votes were manipulated to benefit the Kurdish political parties. The demonstrations were interrupted Monday as Iraqi security forces opened fire and injured four Turkmens.
Regardless, the Turkmens did not call off the protests and spent the night on the streets, using Turkmens flags as blankets. It also gained remarkable support on social media, with hundreds of tweets asking that the Turkmens' demands be met.
Iraqi Turkmens, several Arab and Kurdish groups in Kirkuk began protesting Sunday over alleged fraud in the country's first parliamentary elections since the defeat of Daesh and asked for an official recount.
Following the protests, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered a recount in Kirkuk Monday, Iraqi Turkmen Front leader Ershad Salihi told Anadolu Agency (AA).
The protesters demanded that the votes be counted manually instead of using the electronic devices, Salihi said, adding that they will not hand over Turkmens' votes to anyone else. "The ones who would let their votes be taken by others will lose their will and homeland [Kirkuk] tomorrow," he said.
Salihi added that the protests and strikes will continue unless the Turkmens' demands were met.
On Saturday, Iraqis voted in the country's first parliamentary election since 2014.
According to Iraq's official election commission, some 10.8 million Iraqis, out of 24 million eligible voters, took part in the vote, representing a turnout of 44.5 percent.
Speaking at a press conference, the head of Iraq's Iendependent High Electoral Commission Muan Hitavi said Monday that the initial results in Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) capital Irbil showed that the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) came first with 316,000 votes, followed by Kurdistan Patriotic Union. The Iraqi Turkmen Front, on the other hand, received 2,333 votes.
In Iraq, however, the Sairoon coalition, led by opposition leader Muqtada al-Sadr, came in first in Saturday's parliamentary polls, while the pro-government al-Fatih coalition, led by Hadi al-Amiri, came second.
According to the same source, the al-Wataniya coalition, led by Iyad Allawi, won 29 seats; the State of Law coalition, led by Nuri al-Maliki, picked up 24; the KDP, led by Masoud Barzani, clinched 23 seats; the National Wisdom Movement, led by Ammar al-Hakim, won 22 seats; and the al-Qarar coalition, led by Osama al-Nujaifi, captured 18 seats.
Final poll results are expected to be announced sometime later this week.
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