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Iraqi Shi'ites Show Solidarity with Bahraini Protesters

Iraqis chant slogans during a demonstration in solidarity with Bahraini protesters in Baghdad, April 23, 2011

Hundreds of Iraqi Shi'ites rallied in Baghdad on Saturday in a show of solidarity with Shi'ites in Bahrain who have demonstrated for a greater role in their Sunni-led government.

Some demonstrators in Iraq also denounced the presence of Saudi troops in Bahrain.

In March, Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa authorized the entry of Saudi soldiers and police from the United Arab Emirates to help protect his government from unrest caused by his kingdom's Shi'ite majority.

Shi'ites in Iran and Lebanon have also voiced support for fellow Shi'ites in Bahrain.

Separately, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says the anti-government protests that are gripping much of the Arab world are justified because many demonstrators are facing "tyranny" and oppression.

He says people have a right to protest peacefully in order to change their "reality" for the better.

Maliki's office released his comments on Saturday. A statement says the president made the remarks earlier in the week during an interview with a South Korean news agency.

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

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