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Sat 5 Mar 2011 05:05 PM

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Saudi Arabia forbids any protest demos, marches

Interior Ministry says security forces will take all measures to prevent disorder in kingdom

Saudi Arabia forbids any protest demos, marches
SAUDI ARABIA: Saudi Arabia on Saturday banned all protests and marches, state television on Saturday cited the Interior Ministry as saying (ITP Images - for illustrative purposes only)
Saudi Arabia forbids any protest demos, marches
Riyadh, Saudi capital, Saudi government, Saudi economy, GCCs largest economy, Kingdom Tower, Riyadh

Saudi Arabia on Saturday banned all protests and marches, state television on Saturday cited the Interior Ministry as saying after Saudi minority Shi'ites staged small protests in the oil-producing eastern province.

Security forces would use all measures to prevent any attempt to disrupt public order, state news channel al-Ekhbariya said in an alert without giving details.

Saudi Shi'ites held two small protests in the kingdom's oil-producing east on Friday, demanding the release of a cleric and other prisoners, witnesses, human rights activists and Shi'ite sources said.

More than 100 protesters marched through the city of Hofuf to demand the release of Shi'ite cleric Tawfiq al-Amir who was arrested after calling for a constitutional monarchy and a fight against corruption, witnesses and human rights activists said.

In the Gulf coast town of Qatif, more than 100 protesters demanded the release of Amir and other detained Shi'ites, witnesses said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Videos posted on YouTube.com showed pictures of what purported to be the protests. There was no immediate confirmation by the government that any protests had been held.

Similar demonstrations were held in Qatif and the neighbouring town of Awwamiya on Thursday night.

Saudi Arabia's Shi'ite minority mostly live in the east, which holds much of the oil wealth of the world's top crude exporter and is near Bahrain, scene of protests by majority Shi'ites against their Sunni rulers.

Saudi Shi'ites in recent years increasingly have practised their own religious rites thanks to reforms introduced by King Abdullah.

But they still complain they struggle to get senior government jobs and other benefits like other citizens.

The government of Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy without an elected parliament that usually does not tolerate public dissent, denies the allegations.

Last month, Saudi authorities released three prisoners after a previous protest by Shi'ites in Awwamiya.

Last week, King Abdullah returned to Riyadh after a three-month medical absence and unveiled $37 billion in benefits to help lower- and middle-income people among the 18 million Saudi nationals. It includes pay rises to offset inflation, unemployment benefits and affordable family housing.

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Mohammed Mubin 9 years ago

What a dubious way of projecting the article.

This is how media is and lately every media outlet is proving this.

You write on a sensitive subject on Saudi but you show the picture of Bahrain protests. It is sort of provocation to incite disturbances in Saudi.

Nilda S Hidalgo-Batzes 9 years ago

Saudi Arabia forbids any protest demos, marches
Why your picture on this report is Bahrain demonstration and not Saudi Arabia? You could have put Saudi Arabia image instead. Would you care to explain?
Thank you.

ahmad 9 years ago

we are all brothers,Shi'ites and Sunni's,this is not a fight between us or against our Sunni or even Shi'i rulers,we both ask for freedom under the Islamic Laws,not any thing else

Rajesh 9 years ago

It wasnt leagal in France, Germany, Russia, Poland, Romania, Egypt, Tunisia......but it still happened...
The important thing is to avoid a situation where people have no other choice....

sonnydubai 9 years ago

Mohamed and Nilda, rather than worry about the accuracies of the picture in the piece, why not worry about the real story - ie the Saudi government being terrified of what could happen there...and the fact they are already clamping down on the thought of any protesters..what does that say about how the country is run in the 21st century?

Sam the Sham 9 years ago

Actually in France, Germany, Poland, Romania and many other European countries, peaceful protest is legal and is a fundamental human right.

Sridhar Kadambi 9 years ago

As a former resident of Saudi Arabia who left that country just a few years ago, I sincerely hope no protests start in the Kingdom. I am not against the freedom of people anywhere in the world, and will always support protests/revolts where the government is ruled by a dictator or autocrat who has seized power and holds on to it using unfair means and persecutes the people. Such is/was the scenario in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia. Saudi Arabia, however is quite different. Overall the people are a happy lot; locals are a satisfied & spoilt lot! The current King Abdulla has implemented a lot of refreshing reforms ever since he took over from Fahd, and things are a lot better compared to the 90's when the first thing the immigration official would ask a visitor was, "What is your religion?!"

So, economically and for the sake of continuing peace in the region, let us hope that no fanatic or lunatic starts a totally unjustified revolt there and upsets the peacefully coasting apple-cart.

Sophie 9 years ago

"I am not against the freedom of people anywhere in the world" Let me laugh please. You are against freedom dude. Saudi Arabia and Libya are the biggest autocracies worldwide. Look at the article's title: "Saudi Arabia forbids any protest demos", well this is a violation of the most basic human right: Freedom! I hope from the bottom of my heart that revolts will spread and that democracy will prevail.

observer 9 years ago

For those people out there who think there should be protests in Saudi Arabia and a change of govt, let me tell you, if it does happen and if the govt does change to a democratic one, the west will loose saudi arabia as an ally, as the new democratic govt. would reflect the views of the majority, and that would probably mean more trouble for those western countries who want to manipulate the country and its oil...egypt and tunisia are a different case, so pray the saudi govt remains the same....

Evgeny 9 years ago

Way to go Saudis, crush the revolt. If UAE for example had your democracy, Sophie, you guys wouldn't be coming here because it is safe and there are no drugs and your kids will not be harmed unlike the UK or the US. This is why i am here, sick of democracy and western double standards, sick of crime and prostitution, sick of drugs and ads promoting booze and lust. I am not saying this place is heaven, but i'd rather be here.