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MENAFN - Arab News - 30/12/2012

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(MENAFN - Arab News) Tens of thousands of Iraqi Sunnis angry over perceived second-class treatment by the Shiite-led government massed along a major western highway and elsewhere in the country yesterday for the largest protests yet.

The well-organized rallies, which took place after traditional Friday prayers, underscore the strength of a tenacious protest movement that appears to be gathering support among Sunnis, whose sense of grievance has been increased by arrests and prosecutions that they feel underscore Shiite political dominance.

The biggest of demonstrations took place on a main road to Jordan and Syria that runs through the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi in Anbar.

Several thousand protesters took to the streets in Fallujah, holding aloft placards declaring the day a "Friday of honor." Some carried old Iraqi flags used during the era of former dictator Saddam Hussein.

Massive crowds also blocked the highway in Ramadi, further to the west, to demand "fair treatment" from the government and the release of prisoners, said Dhari Arkan, the deputy governor of Anbar.

"The people have demands that must be met by the Baghdad government immediately or these demonstrations will spread nationwide," Arkan said. "The people can bring down the regime, just like what happened in other Arab Spring countries."

In Mosul, abound 3,000 demonstrators took to the streets to denounce what they called the sidelining of Sunnis in Iraq and to demand the release of Sunni prisoners.

 






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