World Bulletin / News Desk
Chanting "No" to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, tens of thousands of Sunni Muslims protested after Friday prayers in huge rallies against the Shi'ite premier that are raising the spectre of renewed sectarian unrest.
Sunni Muslim outrage erupted in late December over what protesters see as abuses and discrimination against their minority sect since the fall of Saddam Hussein and the rise of the country's Shi'ite majority.
Waving the old three-star Iraqi flag from Saddam's era, Sunni clerics, tribal sheikhs and young protesters called for reform of anti-terrorism laws they say security forces abuse to target Sunnis and unfairly detain prisoners.
Maliki has offered concessions, and freed hundreds of prisoners. But Sunni protesters have grown more defiant after soldiers opened fire at a Falluja city rally, killing five people a week ago.
"We will never forget what the army did to us, not only last Friday, but all of their behaviour has been sectarian against us," Omar Al-Jumaili, 51, in Falluja city. "Our new demand; the Iraqi army should leave this area."
The protests are evolving in the most serious test yet for Maliki and his fragile government that splits posts among Shi'ite, Sunni and ethnic Kurds, who were already deadlocked over how to share power for more than a year.
Islamic State of Iraq, still active after years of losses against American soldiers, has also urged Sunni protesters to take up arms.
A year after the last American troops pulled out, sectarian tensions are still raw in the OPEC country, where Shi'ite on Sunni violence killed tens of thousands of people just a few years after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
Maliki has appointed a senior Shi'ite figure to talk to demonstrators about demands such as an amnesty law and easing of so-called de-Baathification campaign against former members of Saddam's outlawed Baath party.
Iraq's vice premier Saleh al-Mutlaq, a Sunni, said a meeting on Friday with Maliki's Shi'ite National Alliance coalition and Sunni-backed Iraqiya had been positive on proposed reforms.
"We can say there was a progress in this meeting, which may be hasn't happened in the previous ones," he said.
The Sunni unrest broke out just as Baghdad is struggling also with a dispute with the autonomous Kurdistan region over oil and land rights. That has complicated Maliki's attempts to build alliances with Sunni and Kurdish leaders.
Bashir had abolished the post of prime minister when he came to power in 1989
MSF said its chartered rescue ship, the Bourbon Argos, picked up 107 people aboard the boat 26 nautical miles off Libya on Tuesday.
A state of emergency was established following waves of anti-government protests, mainly in Oromia region
Buhari sent a letter which was read on the floor of the House of Representatives in Abuja on Tuesday urging lawmakers to approve the loan to "ensure prompt implementation of the projects."
Move makes Gambia third African country to leave tribunal after Burundi, South Africa
Shihli Shihli, commander of Sultan Murad Brigade, expresses concerns about Shia militias joining Mosul operation
Norway announced Monday that 330 US Marines, to be stationed on rotation around 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) from the Russian border, will be engaged in training and manoeuvres from January 2017.
Montenegro's Prime Minister has that announced his government is investigating a possible Russian role in an alleged 16 October coup plot aimed at derailing the country’s elections.
At least 4,014 people have been transferred to refugee centers on Tuesday, the camp official says
Despite capturing world wide fame after the publication of her picture in National Geographic in 1985, the struggle of Sharbat Gula remains after she was arrested for illegally possessing a Pakistani ID card.
Francois Hollande says assault on Raqqah, Syria, should follow recapture of Iraqi city
EU ambassador reiterates European support for Peshmerga in ongoing fight against ISIL group
Opposition lawmakers approve plan to launch impeachment process against president
Deal with Socialists gives acting prime minister chance to form administration
Move sparks fears of sectarian tension, conflict in ethnically-diverse city