Iraq: New protests break out in Sunni heartland

RAMADI, Iraq (AP) — Witnesses say thousands of demonstrators have gathered again in a Sunni Muslim-dominated Iraqi province west of the capital to voice their opposition to the Shiite-led government.

The protesters massed Wednesday along a highway linking Baghdad with neighboring Jordan and Syria. They held banners demanding that Sunnis' rights be respected and calling for the release of Sunni prisoners in Iraqi jails.

It is the third major protest in Anbar province in less than a week.

On Friday, Iraq's government said it had arrested 10 of Finance Minister Rafia al-Issawi's bodyguards on terrorism-related charges. Al-Issawi comes from Anbar and is one of the government's most senior Sunni officials. The case is exacerbating tensions with Iraq's Sunnis, who accuse Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of targeting and marginalizing them.

Associated Press
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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