Iraqi army has clashed with protesters in the western city of Ramadi after violence near the northern city of Kirkuk left dozens killed.

Iraqi police say armed protesters killed six soldiers and seized a seventh near Ramadi on Tuesday. The protesters also burned two armored personnel carriers. The confrontation in Ramadi, the provincial capital of Anbar, came hours after almost two dozen people were killed in clashes between Iraqi security forces and militants at a protest camp in the town of Hawija, near Kirkuk. According to Iraqi military sources, the violence in Hawija erupted after militants, who had infiltrated into the camp, opened fire on government forces as they entered the protest camp early on Tuesday. The ministry of defense has also said in a statement that security forces responded after coming under fire from gunmen inside the camp. It also said that government forces entered the camp to arrest members of a militant group known as Naqshbandiya Army, who were using the camp as a safe haven. Dozens of Kalashnikov assault rifles and several machine - guns were recovered at the scene. Meanwhile, Iraq’s Education Minister Mohammed Ali Tamim has resigned following the clashes. Tamim is the third Iraqi minister to resign since the beginning of anti - government protests in Iraq. Agriculture Minister Ezzedine al - Dawleh and Finance Minister Rafa al - Issawi both resigned in March. Iraq has been the scene of anti - government demonstrations since December 23,2012, when bodyguards of former finance minister, Issawi, were arrested on terrorism - related charges. The demonstrators allege that the arrests were made on sectarian grounds and demand an end to anti - terrorism laws. But the government says it is up to parliament to decide on abolishing those laws.