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Thousands of Sunnis Protest in Iraqi Cities

Thousands of Sunnis rallying in cities throughout Iraq are calling for Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to step down amid accusations of unfair treatment by the country's Shiite-led government.

The latest round of protests began on Friday after weekly Muslim prayers in several predominately Sunni cities, including Fallujah, Ramadi, Samarra, Mosul and Kirkuk. Demonstrators also gathered in Baghdad under heavy security.

The rally is part of weekly Friday demonstrations that erupted in December in western Anbar province in protest of Mr. Maliki and his government's majority Shi'ite rule, which Sunni protesters say marginalizes their sect.

In addition to demands that Mr. Maliki step down, protesters are calling for the government to rescind policies they say discriminate against Sunnis. They are also calling for the release thousands of Sunni prisoners they say were arrested under the guise of counter-terrorism measures.

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