Tens of thousands of Sunnis rallied across Iraq today to protest against being marginalised politically by the majority Shi'ite government.
Protesters took to the streets after Friday prayers for the sixth day of protests calling for Shi'ite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to step down and for the release of Sunni prisoners.
Several thousand marched through Fallujah declaring the day a "Friday of Honour."
Many carried flags used during Saddam Hussein's rule, when the Sunni minority held political power.
Others carried the flag approved in 2008 following the Western invasion which ousted Hussein and some carried banners supporting the mainly Sunni rebels seeking to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Press agency AFP said the Iraqi army had prevented its journalists from travelling to cover the protests.
It said journalists' press cards were confiscated unless they promised to return to Baghdad.
Thousands more marched through other towns in the Sunni-majority Anbar province.
Al-Qaida is believed to be rebuilding pockets of support in Anbar and was a centre of opposition to the 2003 US-led invasion.
Militants there are now believed to be providing support for Sunni insurgents in Syria.
Around 3,000 protesters chanted the Arab spring slogan "The people want the downfall of the regime" in northern city Mosul.
And local officials joined demonstrators in other northern towns to demand the Baghdad government release 10 bodyguards of Finance Minister Rafia al-Issawi.
Their arrest sparked the current wave of protests but built on building fears of marginalisation.
Sunni Vice-President Tariq al-Hashemi is in exile in Turkey to avoid "politically motivated" charges that he ran death squads.
Mr Maliki said protesters risked dragging the country back into the "dark days" of sectarian violence.
"Nations that look for peace, love and reconstruction must choose civilized ways to express themselves," he said.
"It is not acceptable to express opinions by blocking the roads, encouraging sectarianism, threating to launch wars and dividing Iraq."
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