Back to top buttonSaudi activists plan to hold a rally in the eastern city of Qatif to protest the army’s invasion in Bahrain and to demand the release of political prisoners.
In the face of tightened security measures and government crackdowns, the Saudis have regularly spilled out into the streets in many cities including capital Riyadh, criticizing the Saudi kingdom for invading Bahrain, reports say. People in Qatif said that they will hold a protest rally on Thursday. Hundreds of people hit the streets in Qatif last Friday to protest against the Saudi military deployments to Bahrain and demanded the release of all political prisoners held in Saudi custody without trial. The protesters also called for an end to human rights violations in the country. Rights activists have complained that thousands of intellectuals are in prisons because they have called for reform in Saudi Arabia. “Saudi authorities have arrested over 160 peaceful dissidents in violation of international human rights law since February 2011,” the US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a statement on Wednesday. It urged Saudi Arabian Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud to order the immediate release of peaceful protesters. HRW has also censured Saudi allies, the European Union and the United States, for failing to take a harder line over Riyadh’s arrest of critics.
“As the list of Saudi political prisoners grows longer, the silence of the US and the EU becomes more deafening,” said Christoph Wilcke, a senior Middle East researcher at HRW in the statement. In Saudi Arabia, protest rallies and any public display of opposition are forbidden and considered as illegal. Senior Wahhabi clerics in the kingdom have also censured opposition demonstrations as “unIslamic.”