Hundreds of members of an anti-Al-Qaeda front in Iraq's central city of Baquba on Friday donned keffiyeh headdresses and took to the streets demanding the police chief be sacked, witnesses said.
Fighters ran militia-style through two neighbourhoods in the capital of Diyala province, ordering shops to shut and people to stay indoors, prompting police to declare a curfew, an AFP correspondent said.
The action came after demands by the group earlier in the week that police chief Major General Ghanim al-Quraishi be sacked were ignored.
"Despite our efforts and the blood we shed in order to expel Al-Qaeda members from Diyala, we received no help from the government or the police," said Haji Basim al-Karkhi, who is in charge of the "popular committees."
"The police chief committed violations such as abducting Sunnis in front of the Diyala police headquarters," said Karkhi. "He also does not accept Sunni recruits."
What with this and the Anbar Salvation Council threatening to take up arms against the elected council and refusing to fly the new Iraqi flag and dismissing the entire Parliament as illegitimate and Awakenings leaders declaring that no Iraqi police are allowed in their territory and clashing with them when they do and blaming Shi'ite militias (and not al-Qaeda) for the wave of attacks against them and fighting over territory and threatening to quit if they aren't paid, it really is hard to see why anybody would think that there might be anything troublesome about the relationship between the Awakenings and the Iraqi "state". Nothing to see here but great big gobs of victory folks, please move along.
UPDATE: ... a friend writes (I haven't seen any comfirming reporting yet, but he should know):
abul abed left town for jordan a couple of days ago. last night the iraqi army arrested 18 men in amriya without being accompanied by abul abed's men the way they're supposed to. they arrested men include 4 or 5 of abul abed's men. abul abed's men say if the army doesnt release them then they will fight it. the streets of amriya are dead now.
... and insurgency-friendly news site reports armed clash between Awakening militia and Iraqi national forces in al-Adhamiya. The plural of anecdote isn't evidence, but it is plural...