Saturday, December 29, 2012
Iraqi Sunnis rally against the Shia-led government
Tens of thousands of Iraqis have taken part in protests in fresh rallies against the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Massive demonstrations took place along a major highway near the city of Fallujah on Friday, declaring the day a "Friday of Honour". The main highway at Ramadi, 100km west of Baghdad, was barricaded for a fifth day, disrupting transit of government supplies along a key trade route to and from Jordan and Syria. Protesters were, however, letting most trucks, carrying private goods, pass along another road through Ramadi.-
Thousands also took to the streets in the northern Sunni towns of Tikrit and Samarra, where they were joined by legislators and provincial officials.In the northern city of Mosul, around 3,000 demonstrators took to the streets.
The rallies appear to be the largest yet in a week of demonstrations, intensifying pressure on the Shia-led government. Protests erupted last week after Iraqi authorities detained 10 bodyguards of the finance minister, who is from Anbar and is one of the government's most senior Sunni officials. Many Sunnis accuse Maliki of marginalising the country's religious minority group by refusing to share power and depriving them of equal rights. The present protests are focused on the ant0-terrorism laws taht Shias say are used mainly against them. However, some analists think the protest may lead to demands for some kind of autonomy for the Sunni parts of the country by analogy with the Kurdish territory.