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Tens Of Thousands Rally Against Iraqi Prime Minister

Sunni Muslims attend Friday Prayers during an antigovernment demonstration in the Iraqi city of Fallujah on February 1.
Tens of thousands of Sunni Muslims have rallied in Iraq in another show of discontent with the Shi'ite-led government.

The protests took place in Fallujah and Ramadi, blocking a major highway in western Iraq.

Last week, five protesters and two soldiers were killed in clashes in Fallujah.

Demonstrations have swept Sunni-majority areas of Iraq for the past weeks.

Protesters say Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's government persecutes the country's Sunni Muslim minority.

They are calling for the release of prisoners and the reform of antiterror legislation.

In a concession to the protesters, Maliki has released hundreds of detainees.

An Al-Qaida-affiliated group, the Islamic State of Iraq, has called on Sunni Muslims to take up arms to restore "dignity and freedom."

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters