Iraq's Shi'ites took to the streets on Saturday to support the government against Sunni protests over political marginalisation.
About 2,000 people marched in Baghdad and a few dozen rallied in Basra, accusing Sunnis of trying to split Iraq.
Sunnis began demonstrating against the Shi'ite-dominated government last month after the arrest of bodyguards attached to a prominent Sunni politician.
The minority sect enjoyed the lion's share of political power while Saddam Hussein ran Iraq.
Officials say the protests are aimed at whipping up sectarian conflict.
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