Residents from three villages in Dukan district blocked the Dukan-Koya road with large boulders and burning tires on Friday to protest their lack of access to basic public services and a decrease in the number of hours of electricity provided by the national grid.
Specifically, residents objected to a recent decision that cut the number of hours of electricity available in Kalkasmaq village and two nearby settlements in half, despite being located near a major hydroelectric dam.
One of the protesters from Kalkasmaq said that residents had granted the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) dozens of acres of land on which to build electricity infrastructure, but now have limited access to electricity, private generators, and water.
He added that the villagers do not want to be victims of political conflict, but merely to have better access to services.
Another protester said that the lack of services was particularly galling since their villages are located so close to Dukan, a popular lakeside tourism and resort area.
The second protester warned that if their demands were not met, then they would escalate their tactics and also block the larger Sulaimani-Ranya-Erbil road.
Blackouts are common in the Kurdistan Region, with government-provided electricity available for most residents only about half the day at the best of times. Those who can afford it rely on private generators to fill in the gaps.