Saudi Arab

Saudi protesters renew call for reform

tarapour20110309230807827Protesters in Saudi Arabia have poured into the streets to demand the ruling regime freedom in the monarchy and release political prisoners, despite a ban on demonstrations.

In Saudi Arabia, protest rallies and any other public display of dissent are forbidden and considered illegitimate . Around 200 protesters, mostly young men, staged another protest on Wednesday in the kingdom’s oil producing city of Qatif in the east, in defiance of the ban on demonstrations, Reuters quoted witnesses as saying. The protesters also demanded the release of prisoners they say are held without trial. The protest was a prelude to the planned “Day of Rage” on Friday, which is meant to demand the ouster of the Saudi royal family. The Wednesday protests came despite a warning last week by senior Wahhabi clerics in the kingdom who censured opposition demonstrations as “un-Islamic.” Before the protests, Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said that dialogue is the best way to bring about change in Saudi Arabia, and threatened strong action against activists protesting on the streets. Police in large numbers were deployed in the streets of Qatif. The city is located close to Bahrain, which has been the scene of large protests by majority Shias against their Sunni rulers. Shias have staged protests for about two weeks in the east of Saudi Arabia, mainly to demand the release of prisoners. A group of Saudi youths has posted a message on Facebook, calling for a “Saudi Revolution” on March 11 and 20 to demand democratic and political reform in the monarchy. The Facebook group has also called for a “Day of Rage” rally on March 11. Tens of thousands of Saudis have already joined the drive.

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