Iraq Deputy PM's Guards Fire on Protesters

He was trying to defuse demonstrations. Not so successful.


An attempt by Iraq's Sunni deputy prime minister to defuse an anti-government protest in the country's west has ended in chaos, with his bodyguards opening fire and wounding two people as demonstrators tried to attack the official.

The incident happened on Sunday near the city of Ramadi, where thousands of minority Sunnis have been staging a week of daily street protests against perceived discrimination by the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a majority Shi'ite. The protesters also have blocked a major highway.

Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq, one of the most senior Sunni officials in the government, made an unannounced visit to the protest site to try to address the concerns of his fellow Sunnis. But, his presence angered many demonstrators, who shouted abuse at him and threw bottles and stones at his entourage.