DIYALA, Iraq, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- The sectarian rift in Iraq is making itself felt in Sunni-dominated Diyala province, where the governor and half the council are in self-imposed exile.
In Samara, another Sunni-dominated city, 2,000 people joined a mass protest Friday, The New York Times reported.
The Shiite-Sunni divide reached a crisis this week when Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, accused the Sunni vice president, Tariq al-Hashimi, of operating death squads and ordered him arrested.
In Diyala, local officials have proposed breaking Iraq up into semiautonomous regions for Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds. Earlier this week, there were violent demonstrations, although more recent ones have been peaceful, the Times said. On Thursday, a series of bombs took at least 68 lives and left about 200 wounded in Baghdad.
"We've reached a point where the exasperation with the entire political process is so big in Sunni majority areas," said Reidar Visser, an Iraqi expert who edits the blog historiae.org. "They are just fed up and disillusioned."
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