First Published: 2012-12-31

 

Protesters grab, hit Iraq deputy PM in Ramadi

 

Two hurt people hurt when security forces open fire to disperse protesters who attacked Mutlak while addressing rally.

 

Middle East Online

The rallies began on December 23 after the arrest of Finance Minister's guards

RAMADI, Iraq - Two people were wounded when security forces opened fire to disperse protesters who attacked Iraq's deputy premier on Sunday, forcing him to flee a rally he was addressing, an AFP reporter said.

The demonstrators, who have blocked a key highway connecting Iraq to Syria and Jordan for the past week over the alleged targeting of their Sunni Arab minority by the Shiite-led government in Baghdad, threw water bottles, stones and shoes at Saleh al-Mutlak before grabbing and hitting him.

Mutlak, who is himself Sunni and from Anbar province where the protests have been staged, managed to escape after federal police arrived and fired their weapons into the air.

An aide to Mutlak, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the deputy premier was all right and was returning to Baghdad.

Mutlak had arrived at the rally site earlier on Sunday and began addressing the crowds, which have numbered in the tens of thousands at their peak over the past week, from an elevated platform.

But as he began speaking, demonstrators shouted "Traitor!" in an apparent reference to his being in the national unity government they were protesting against, and began throwing bottles of water at him, an AFP journalist said.

They then began hurling stones and shoes, at which point Mutlak's personal security detail formed a protective ring around him and escorted him from the platform, firing their weapons above the heads of protesters.

But demonstrators followed them and broke through the security cordon, grabbing Mutlak's clothes and hitting him in the mouth, drawing blood.

Federal policemen then intervened, firing into the air to disperse the crowd, and Mutlak was driven off in an unmarked civilian car. Two people were wounded by the gunfire.

The rallies began on December 23 after the arrest three days earlier of Finance Minister Rafa al-Essawi's guards on terrorism charges, prompting the minister to call for Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to resign or be removed.

Demonstrators, who have massed in Sunni-majority provinces such as Anbar, Nineveh and Salaheddin, have said anti-terror laws were being used by the Shiite-led government to target their community.

 

Dozens dead in fierce clashes south of Aleppo

Davutoglu to step down after failing to escape Erdogan's shadow

Saudi policeman killed in Mecca region

Israel hits Hamas facility in Gaza

Will London elect its first Muslim mayor?

Jubeir: Vision 2030 will take Saudiís advancement to another level

Yemen foes discuss key issues in Kuwait talks

UN urged to take action over rebel fire on besieged Yemen city

Egypt's Sisi touts economic accomplishments

US aid ship docks with food for Sudan war zones

Israel court recommends returning Palestinian attackers' corpses

Saudi allows Binladin Group tenders after mass layoffs

Long Erdogan-Davutoglu honeymoon coming to an end

Tunisia confident border trade with Libya will resume 'very soon'

Syria army agrees to respect truce in Syriaís Aleppo

Israel strikes Hamas sites in Gaza

Malta likely to become first EU member to open Libya mission

Qaeda threatens to target homes of Yemen security forces

Anti-ISIS coalition pledges additional military commitment

UN warns Eastern Aleppo may soon become besieged

London set to elect its first Muslim Mayor

Fierce fighting rages in Aleppo as diplomacy efforts intensify

Riyadh's $22.5 bn Metro project on track

Egypt court sentences prominent activist to six months in prison

UK to take in more Syria child refugees

France to host Saudi, Qatar, UAE, Turkey FMs for Syria talks

US expects more military resources for anti-ISIS fight

Standoff escalates between Egypt journalists and authorities

Turkey says ready to send ground troops to Syria 'if necessary'

Hamas accuses Fatah of organising military cell in Gaza

Egypt court acquits Mubarak's last PM

Israel to upgrade ties with NATO as Turkey lifts veto

Passengers injured as Etihad flight hits severe turbulence

Israeli tanks fire shots over Gaza border

5th edition of Middle East Homeland Security Summit to be held in Amman in November

Money and revenge push Syrians to jihadist ranks

EU conditionally backs visa-free travel for Turks, overhauls asylum system

Airstrikes resume in Damascus as fighting 'freeze' ends

Relief in Yemen's Mukalla after year of al-Qaeda rule

Saudi oil minister visits Sudan to cement improving ties

Warnings for Assad as Syria talks shift to Berlin

Is Erdogan-Davutoglu tandem coming to an end?

US troops facing growing risks in Iraq, Syria

Fierce clashes rage in Syriaís Aleppo

Yemen warring parties back to peace talks table