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Iraq's Maliki Warns Against 'Day of Rage' Protest


Maha al-Dori, a lawmaker loyal to anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, collects the demands of protesters during a protest at Tahrir Square in Baghdad, Iraq, February 23, 2011

Maha al-Dori, a lawmaker loyal to anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, collects the demands of protesters during a protest at Tahrir Square in Baghdad, Iraq, February 23, 2011

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is calling on Iraqis to boycott an anti-government "Day of Rage" protest planned for Friday.

In a televised speech Thursday, he said such demonstrations are organized by insurgents and supporters of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Mr. Maliki said insurgents and Saddam loyalists want to incite violence.

Demonstration organizers have been using social media to encourage Iraqis to take part in a "Day of Rage" protest similar to recent opposition demonstrations in Tunisia, Egypt and other Middle East nations.

Iraqis have held a series of protests recently. Those taking part have not called for the government's ouster; instead they have demanded better public services and measures to clean up government corruption.

Mr. Maliki has taken several steps in recent weeks to sooth protesters, including cutting his pay and increasing funding for food programs for the needy.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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