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Wed 9 Mar 2011 11:01 AM

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Saudi 'Day of Rage' likely to be 'non-event', experts say

Websites in the Kingdom have called for nationwide demonstrations on March 11 and March 20

Saudi 'Day of Rage' likely to be 'non-event', experts say
SAUDI SECURITY: Websites in Saudi Arabia have called for nationwide demonstrations on March 11 and March 20 (Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

The “Day of
Rage” in Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, isn’t likely to be
significant, regional experts said at CERAWeek, a Houston conference held by
IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates.

Websites in
Saudi Arabia have called for nationwide demonstrations on March 11 and March
20, according to Human Rights Watch, following those that have toppled the
leaders of Tunisia and Egypt and have taken Libya to the brink of civil war.
Protests have also been reported in countries including Iran, Yemen and Oman.

“The
protests on Friday are probably going to be a non- event,” said Brad Bourland,
an economist with Jadwa Investment Co. in Riyadh.

The Saudi
Stock Market’s Tadawul All Share Index has increased 14 percent since March 2,
“and I think that’s a good leading indicator” that investors expect stability,
Bourland said. The index rose 123.05 points, or 2.1 percent, today to 6,073.79.

Saudi
Arabia’s Council of Senior Islamic Scholars warned against protests in the
kingdom and condemned them as forbidden, the Saudi Press Agency said March 6.
Saudi authorities also freed Shiite Muslim cleric Tawfiq Al Amir, who was
arrested last month for calling for a constitutional monarchy and equal rights,
two activists said.

“It’s not
going to lead to a continuing protest that will become a real challenge to the
regime,” said James Placke, senior associate with IHS CERA and a former US
deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs responsible for
US relations with Arabian Gulf nations.

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