Iraq’s Maliki Condemns ‘Unconstitutional’ Sunni Protests

Won't Tolerate Public Demonstrations Indefinitely

by Jason Ditz, January 01, 2013

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki today condemned the thousands of Sunni protesters continuing to demonstrate in the Anbar Province, insisting that public protests against his regime are “unconstitutional” and won’t be tolerated for much longer.

“Don’t think it’s difficult for the government to take measures against you or to re-open the road and put an end to this matter,” Maliki warned, adding that the government had been “very patient” but that would soon end.

The protests began after the mass arrest of office workers and security for Finance Minister Rafie Issawi, who officials have since insisted are all “terrorists.” Sunni protesters see Iraq’s loose “terrorism” laws as being exploited to keep Sunni politicians marginalized, even though the Iraqiya Party has the largest plurality in the government they have only a handful of government posts, including Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, who is sentenced to death in exile as a “terrorist.”

Maliki did offer one concession to the protesters, announcing that he is going to release some 700 Sunni women who are in detention on a “special amnesty.

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