Thousands of Iraq Sunnis in Angry anti-Maliki Demos
[An Nahar] Thousands of Sunni Moslems erupted into the streets of Storied Baghdad
...located along the Tigris River, founded in the 8th century, home of the Abbasid Caliphate...
and other parts of Iraq on Friday to decry the alleged targeting of their minority, in rallies hardening opposition to the country's Shiite leader.
The protests have worsened a political crisis, pitting Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki against his erstwhile government partners, with the premier facing accusations of authoritarianism and sectarianism ahead of key provincial polls.
Counter-demonstrations were held in predominantly Shiite areas of southern Iraq calling for authorities to resist demands to reform anti-terror laws or consider a wide-ranging prisoner release, both key demands in majority-Sunni areas.
Anti-government protests were held in Storied Baghdad's mostly-Sunni districts of Adhamiyah and Ghazaliyah, as well as the cities of Ramadi, Samarra, djinn-infested Mosul and Tikrit, AFP journalists said.
Several smaller towns north of Storied Baghdad also held rallies.
In Ghazaliyah, hundreds of protesters rallied after Friday prayers at the Umm al-Qura mosque, holding up banners calling for the repeal of anti-terror laws, the release of women prisoners, and improved human rights
...not to be confused with
individual rights, mind you...
"These sounds do not represent only one community," Ahmed Abdulghafur al-Samarraie, head of the foundation that manages Sunni mosques across Iraq, said in a speech at the rally, referring to the shouts of protesters.
"No, these are the sounds of Iraqis from all over Iraq, all shouting 'No to suffering, no to the absence of services, no to injustice, no to foreign agendas, no to conflict, no to the return of the Baath, Qaeda or militias, no to torturing until death.'"
Hundreds of protesters also gathered at Adhamiyah's Abu Hanifa mosque, despite a heavy security presence and soldiers barring would-be demonstrators from outside the district from taking part, an AFP journalist said.
"We do not have any demands in our protests -- we are just here for our rights," said a 62-year-old man who gave his name as Abu Fares. "The government should provide a good quality of life for people."
Posted by: Fred