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Wave Of Sunni Demonstrations Sweeps Iraq

Iraqi protesters pray during a demonstration in Ramadi, capital of the western region of Anbar, on December 28.
Thousands of Iraqi Sunnis are protesting in several cities against the alleged marginalization of Sunnis by the Shi'ite majority.

Several thousand demonstrators on December 28 blocked the highway into Jordan and Syria.

In Fallujah, demonstrators waved Saddam Hussein-era flags and banners of the primarily Sunni opposition in Syria.

In Mosul, about 3,000 demonstrators called for the release of Sunni prisoners and chanted against the "regime" of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

There were also demonstrations in Tikrit and Samarra.

The protests come at a time of heightened sectarian tensions following the arrests this month of 10 bodyguards of Sunni Finance Minister Rafia al-Issawi.

Also, Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi has been given several death sentences in absentia on terrorism charges.

He is now in Turkey.

Based on reporting by AP and Al-Arabiyah