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.

 

New US law could sanction Hezbollah officials

ISIS-rebel clashes grip northeast Syria town

Hundreds of civilians flee Fallujah area in Iraq

Khamenei urges Iran lawmakers to resist Western 'schemes'

Turkey Muslims demand right to pray at Hagia Sophia

Iran delegation leaves Saudi Arabia without Hajj deal

Thousands of protesters gather in central Bagdad

99 lashes for partying Iranian students

100,000 Syrians trapped after shock IS advance in Aleppo

Iran sticking to nuclear deal: UN watchdog

Turkey party seeks constitutional change to boost president's powers

Turkey accuses US of 'hypocrisy' on Kurdish militia in Syria

Israel environment minister resigns from 'extremist government'

US-led coalition pounds IS near Raqa

Tunisia mulls allowing women to serve in army

US-backed fighters battle IS near Syria stronghold

Tunisia tourism sees 'slight recovery'

UN envoy calls for economic rescue plan for Yemen

Bahrain jails 19 for attacks on police

Up to 30 dead in shipwreck off Libya

UN says Syrians will 'starve' unless aid improves

Christian homes set ablaze in Egyptian village 'love story'

Kuwait's main opposition group ends polls boycott

Twin offensives on IS edge forward in Syria, Iraq

Private firms to help in hunt for Egyptair black boxes

New Israeli defence minister's tough talk to be put to the test

Syria most dangerous place for health workers

Concern for civilians trapped in Iraq's Fallujah

Brent rises past $50 a barrel

Iraq PM urges protesters to stay home

Juncker warns Ankara against migrant deal threats

Israeli air force carries out strikes on Hamas sites in Gaza

Annual Jewish pilgrimage starts in Tunisia

Sudan accuses UN official of 'false' reports on displaced

Egypt quashes prison sentences for 47 protesters

At least 5 drown off Libya coast

Coalition airstrike kills six Yemen civilians 'by mistake'

Erdogan chairs first meeting of new Turkey cabinet

Pope prays to 'convert hearts' of ISIS extremists

Egypt expels French journalist amid crackdown on media

Israeli rights group gives up on army complaints system

Hamas-led council backs executions without Abbas approval

Netanyahu forms ultra-nationalist Israel government

Major assaults target IS jihadists in Iraq, Syria

Yemen warring parties 'closer' to agreement