On 28 December, tens of thousands demonstrators took part in rallies against the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
According to al Jazeera Iraqis protesters were chanting the Arab spring slogan, “the people want the downfall of the regime.” Demonstrations erupted last week, after national authorities detained 10 bodyguards of the Sunni Finance minister. As a result, many Sunnis accused al-Maliki’s government of trying to further marginalise country’s religious minority groups. However, the main issue for Sunnis is the anti-terrorism laws which according to them, they penalise their religious beliefs.
In 2011, the government ratified the new law and official Spokesman of the Government, Ali al-Dabbagh said that “the draft-law describes crimes of terrorism as any action or refusal to carry out any action, or an attempt to achieve any result aimed at causing terror among people, frightening them, or causing danger to their lives, honor or security, or causing harm to the environment or any public or private property, or exposing any of the natural or public health resources to danger, with the motive of undermining the public order, threatening stability, regional safety, national unity or the State's sovereignty or threatening the ruling power.”
At a conference in Baghdad, al-Maliki stressed that current tension can cause a return to the “dark days when people were killed because of their names or identities." For that reason Prime Minister of Iraq asked by the demonstrators to stop protesting and promote dialogue instead. “Nations that look for peace, love and reconstruction must choose civilised ways to express themselves. It is not acceptable to express opinions by blocking the roads, encouraging sectarianism, threating to launch wars and dividing Iraq,” he said.
The political situation in Iraq seems to be unstable, and many believe that if Iraqi President Jalal Talabani resigns from his post, nation’s balance of power will be challenged.