Saudi Arab

Protesters in Riyadh demand release of prisoners

saudi protest arestPeople in Saudi Arabia have once again staged a demonstration in the capital, Riyadh, to demand the release of prisoners detained by regime forces during protests.

Demonstrators took to the streets of the capital on Thursday, calling on the Al Saud regime to free the women and children who were arrested during recent ant-regime protests.

On January 7, Saudi forces in the northern province of Qassim detained dozens of women and children during an anti-regime demonstration in the city of Buraydah.
Amnesty International said on Wednesday that according to reports and photos from the protest, these women and children “merely gathered peacefully and held placards bearing their detained relatives’ names and the length of their detention.”

“There is no way the Saudi Arabian authorities can justify detaining people if they have simply peacefully exercised their rights to freedom of expression and assembly,” said Philip Luther, the Middle East and North Africa program director at Amnesty.

Since February 2011, protesters have held demonstrations on an almost regular basis in Saudi Arabia, mainly in the Qatif region and the town of Awamiyah in Eastern Province, primarily calling for the release of all political prisoners, freedom of expression and assembly, and an end to widespread discrimination.

However, the demonstrations have turned into protests against the Al Saud regime, especially since November 2011, when security forces killed five protesters and injured many others in the province.

In late December 2012, activists said the Saudi regime forces also killed an 18-year-old during a similar protest in Qatif.

According to Human Rights Watch, the Saudi regime “routinely represses expression critical of the government.”

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