Iraqi agriculture minister resigns

Updated: 2013-03-09 04:26


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BAGHDAD - Iraqi Agriculture Minister Izzedine al-Dawla announced his resignation Friday after security forces killed a Sunni protester and wounded four others in the northern city of Mosul.

"In front of the Iraqi people and my people in Nineveh, I announce my resignation from this government," Al-Dawla said at a press conference in Mosul, the provincial capital of Nineveh, in the presence of Parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi and a number of deputies of the al-Iraqiya List.

"Because there is no way I can go on with my work in a government that does not respond to the demands of my people," said Al-Dawla, who was from the Nineveh province.

Iraqi security forces opened fire on anti-government Sunni protesters after Friday prayer around Al-Ahrar Square in Mosul, killing one and wounding four others, Salim al-Jubouri, a spokesman for the demonstrators, told Xinhua earlier Friday.

After the clash between the security forces and the protesters, the Nineveh Operations Command imposed a ban on traffic in part of the city, including the areas where the demonstration took place, a security source said.

In a similar incident on January 25, six people were killed and dozens of others wounded when Iraqi troops opened fire during clashes with Sunni protesters rallying against the Shiite-led government in Fallujah, 70 km west of Baghdad.

Sunnis have staged mass protests since late December when security forces arrested bodyguards of Sunni Finance Minister Rafia al-Essawi. The protests started in the heartland of the Sunni Arabs in Anbar province and quickly spread in the cities of the Sunni provinces of Nineveh, Kirkuk, Salahudin and Diyala, as well as in Baghdad's Sunni districts.

The protesters complained about injustice, marginalization, discrimination, double standards and politicization of the judicial system. They also accused Prime Minister Nouri Maliki of using judiciary to fight his political opponents in order to legally tame the opposition in the political process.