BAGHDAD, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of Iraqis, mainly Sunni Muslims, took to street Friday to criticize the Shiite-dominated central government for "the marginalization" of the Sunni minority.
The demonstrations were launched in the Sunni district of Azamia in the capital city of Baghdad and the northern major cities of Mosul and Kirkuk.
The protesters chanted slogans and held placards in the rally, demanding the release of Sunni detainees whose arrests were allegedly triggered by political and sectarian motives.
No major clashes have so far been reported between the demonstrators and the security forces.
The conflict between Shiite and Sunni political blocs has been intensified since the start of 2012, when the authorities accused Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi on terrorism charges.
Shiite Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki branded the terror investigation as an independent judicial inquiry, while the Sunnis denounced that the government is oppressing the minority group.