Five protesters were killed and 45 others injured Friday during clashes with Iraqi army troops in Fallujah, west of Baghdad, police sources told Efe.

Fallujah and the surrounding province of Al Anbar, where Sunni Muslims predominate, have seen massive demonstrations in recent weeks against the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shi'ite.

The latest protests, which began as people were walking to Friday prayers, turned violent after mosque-goers learned of the deaths of two people at the hands of soldiers, the sources said.

An angry crowd set a military vehicle ablaze and hurled rocks at the troops, who responded with gunfire.

Sunnis across Iraq have been demonstrating since the Dec. 21 arrest of the bodyguard of Finance Minister Rafei al-Essawi, which spurred demands for the scrapping of the anti-terrorism law and for reforms to end the political marginalization of the Sunni minority.

Three days ago, main opposition bloc Al Iraqiya, led by Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq, announced a boycott of meetings of Al-Maliki's national unity government. EFE