Hundreds of Kurds staged a protest in the Iraqi city of Sulaimaniyah to demand political reforms in northern Iraq.
Kurdish security guards later opened fire on the crowd, killing at least two people, officials said – showing that even war-weary Iraq cannot escape the unrest roiling the Middle East.
The protest in Sulaimaniyah was the most violent in a wave of demonstrations that extended to the southern cities of Kut, Nasir and Basra.
Iraq has seen small-scale demonstrations almost daily in recent weeks, mainly centred in the impoverished southern provinces and staged by Iraqis angry over a lack of basic services like electricity and clean drinking water.
The hundreds of Kurds demonstrating in Sulaimaniyah, 160 miles (260 kilometres) northeast of Baghdad, demanded political reforms from the regional government in the semi-autonomous territory.
Although Kurds generally enjoy a higher standard of living than the rest of Iraq, many have grown tired of the tight grip with which the ruling parties control the region and the economy.
The protesters moved from the centre of the city to the headquarters of Kurdish President Massoud Barzani’s political party, where some protesters threw stones at the building.
Officials said Kurdish security guards on the roof then opened fire on the demonstrators, sending people fleeing for cover.
A local police officer and hospital official both said two people were killed in the incident, and the medical official said that 47 people were injured.
Both the officials said the deaths and injuries were the result of shootings.
Neither wanted to be identified because they were not authorised to speak to the media.
Iraqis have a long list of grievances against their leaders, including electricity that sometimes works only a few hours a day, unemployment that runs as high as 30 percent and rampant corruption.