Published on 25 April 2013, by M. Tomazy.
Clashes between Iraqi security forces and protesters killed 27 people on Tuesday, the deadliest showdown since Sunnis took to the streets four months ago calling for the Shiite premier to resign.
High-ranking Iraqi army officers said the demonstration near the northern town of Hawijah was infiltrated by militants but a protest organiser said no one wanted by security forces was present.
The clashes mark the worst eruption of violence between security forces and demonstrators who for more than four months have been calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and decrying the alleged targeting of their community by the authorities.
They broke out around 5:00 am (0200 GMT) when security forces entered an open area near Hawijah, west of Kirkuk, where demonstrations have been held since January, said senior army officers, who gave an overall toll of 27 people killed and around 70 wounded.
But accounts differed as to the spark for the bloodletting.