Protesters demanded the government bring the killers of Iraqi Christians to justice [EPA]
Iraqis in Baghdad and Mosul have protested a recent wave of attacks on their minority religious communities, following the murder of eight Christians in less than two weeks.
Holding olive branches and the national flag, demonstrators vented their anger on Sunday over the poor security afforded them in the wake of a series of killings.
Shouting slogans such as “stop the killing of Christians”, hundreds of demonstrators called on authorities to guarantee their protection as they marched round al-Ferdus Square in central Baghdad.
Bishop Shlemon Warduni, the second most senior Chaldean bishop, also took part in the protest and called for more to be done to protect his community.
“The government has done nothing so far,” he said, demanding that the United Nations, United States and European Union “defend the rights of Christians in Mosul”.
“We do not want to be involved in the rivalries of political parties running for election,” he said, referring to nationwide legislative elections set for March 7.
And Pope Benedict XVI added his voice to the protest, sending a message to Baghdad in which he condemned the violence against Christians in Iraq and asked Iraqi authorities to protect “the most vulnerable religious minorities”.
In Hamdaniyah, some 35km east of the city of Mosul, a third demonstration demanded the killers to be brought to justice.
“The blood of the innocents calls out to you: enough violence, enough terrorism,” one of their banners read.
Baghdad said on Thursday it would set up an inquiry and boost security in Mosul, following the murder of an Assyrian Christian and his two sons on Tuesday.
Between 15,000 and 20,000 Christians live in Mosul, where the shrinking minority has accused authorities of inaction, noting that no murderer has been arrested or brought to justice.