Iraqis condemn 'election fraud'


Thousands of Iraqis have staged a protest in Baghdad about results from the recent parliamentary elections, which they say were tainted by fraud.

Demonstrators chanted slogans alleging the polls were rigged in favour of the governing Shia religious bloc.

Some politicians have been calling for a campaign of civil disobedience if their complaints about the election are not properly investigated.

Marchers carried banners supporting Sunni Arab and secular Shia candidates.

They called for a national unity government to be set up that would share power more widely among Iraq's different communities.

"We're protesting to reject the elections fraud," said one protester quoted by Associated Press.

"We want to ask the government and the elections commission: 'Where did our votes go? Who stole them?'."

Preliminary results from the election gave Shia religious parties a big lead over other groups - final results are not expected before the end of the month.

Several clashes erupted between gunmen and Iraqi police elsewhere in the capital on Tuesday, leaving three police officers and two bystanders dead.