Iraq Police Dismantles Al-Qaeda Protest Site
Police were on Monday dismantling Iraq's main anti-government protest site, which Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has termed a "headquarters for the leadership of al-Qaeda", Iraqiya state TV said.
"Local police are removing the tents from the protest site in Anbar" province, Iraqiya said in a text alert that was followed by another saying the move came after an agreement between security forces, religious leaders and tribal sheikhs.
Mohammed al-Askari said police in the city of Ramadi on Monday dismantled the protesters' tents and removed their sit-in site along a main highway linking Baghdad with neighboring Jordan.
Al-Askari stated there was no violence during the police action.
He added the Ramadi Sunnis agreed late on Sunday to end the protest after the authorities warned their gathering was sheltering al-Qaeda fighters.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said this month that the protest site near Ramadi had become a headquarters for al-Qaeda, and called on legitimate demonstrators to leave.
"I say clearly and honestly that the sit-in site in Anbar has turned into a headquarters for the leadership of al-Qaeda," Maliki, said in remarks broadcast on state television.
He called on "those who are with them in this place who refuse sabotage and who have legal or illegal demands... to leave these camps, and leave this place, so that al-Qaeda stays alone," adding protesters had a "very short period" in which to leave.
Violence in Iraq has surged to a level not seen since 2008, when the country was just emerging from a brutal period of sectarian killings.
Source: News agencies, Edited by website team