World Bulletin / News Desk
Iraq's finance minister resigned on Friday in front of crowds of Sunni Muslim protesters who have rallied daily against the Shi'ite-led government for more than two months, demanding an end to marginalisation of their minority sect.
"I came today in order to announce my resignation from this government in front of you," Rafaie Al-Esawi, also a Sunni, told a crowd of protesters from a stage in Iraq's western province of Anbar, on the border with Syria.
It was Maliki's arrest of Esawi's bodyguards that ignited the protests in the first place last December.
"More than 70 days of demonstrations and this government hasn't fulfilled our people's demands," Esawi later told Reuters.
"It doesn't honour me to be part of a sectarian government. I decided to stay with my people."
Iraqi authorities said Esawi's bodyguards had confessed to involvement in assassinations carried out in coordination with security men employed by Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, who fled into exile a year ago and was later sentenced to death in absentia for terrorism.
Esawi was once a leader of armed group Hamas al-Iraq, which was active in Anbar.Last Mod: 01 Mart 2013, 15:14