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Over 40 Iraqi MPs resign after protest camp removal

30 December 2013 21:48

342843_Iraq-armed-menForty-four members of the Iraqi parliament have announced their resignation after security forces dismantled an anti-government protest camp west of the capital, Baghdad.

The lawmakers’ resignation was announced at a Monday televised news conference during which they called for “the withdrawal of the army.”

Clashes erupted between gunmen and security forces earlier on Monday in the city of Ramadi in western province of Anbar where the protest camp was located.

A total of 13 people, including three policemen, were killed in the skirmishes.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had described the protest site as “a headquarters for the leadership of al-Qaeda,” and urged the protesters to leave the camps.

The legislators also demanded the release of lawmaker Ahmed al-Alwani who was arrested on December 28. The MP backs the anti-government demonstrators.

Alwani’s brother, five guards and a member of security forces were killed in the clashes that were sparked during his arrest.

Iraq has been the scene of anti-government protests since December 2012 after the arrest of then finance minister Rafa al-Essawi on terrorism-related charges.

The protesters alleged that the arrests were made on sectarian grounds and demanded an end to anti-terrorism laws. However, the government says it is up to parliament to decide on abolishing those laws.

According to the United Nations, over 8,000 people have been killed across Iraq this year.

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