Tens of thousands of Sunni Muslims rallied in Iraqi cities today to protest against unfair treatment by the country's Shi'ite-led government.
Sunnis have been staging mass protests since December.
They are demanding the resignation of Shi'ite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and are calling for the release of thousands of Sunnis rounded up arbitrarily under the guise of counter-terrorism.
They also want the authorities to rescind policies that discriminate against Sunnis.
Protestors had hoped to move demonstrations from predominantly Sunni provinces to Baghdad today, but backed off after the government rejected their request and imposed a crackdown.
Security forces blocked roads from Sunni-dominated provinces and sealed off all Sunni neighbourhoods.
In the western cities of Fallujah and Ramadi, demonstrators blocked the main road to Jordan and Syria to perform Friday prayers.
Others gathered in the squares in the northern cities of Samarra, Mosul and Kirkuk. Residents rallied outside a Sunni mosque in Baghdad.
"Where is the partnership you are talking about? Sunnis are only seeing genocide and marginalisation," cleric Saad al-Fayadh told thousands of worshippers in Ramadi.
The cleric accused the Shi'ite-led government of letting Iranian influence grow in Baghdad, saying that Iranian pilgrims can travel to the country easily and Iranian-backed Shi'ite militias have marched in the streets.
"Am I foreigner? Are we second-class citizens? Are we your enemies? We are Anbar, Kirkuk, Ninevah and Salahuddin," he demanded, referring to Sunni provinces.
Some protesters vowed to take their rallies to the capital by holding banners reading: "Baghdad, be patient" and "Baghdad, not yet."
Thousands of Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's followers also marched today, filling the streets of Baghdad's Sadr City to show support for Shi'ites in Bahrain as they mark the second anniversary of the uprising there.