Saudi Arab

Saudi vendor dies after self-immolation

saudi venderA Saudi Arabian vegetable seller, who set himself on fire in the capital Riyadh on Thursday to express discontent over social and economic injustices in the kingdom, has died.

Saudi media reported on Sunday that the man set himself ablaze after police seized his goods for standing in an unauthorized area.

The man, who was identified only by the family name of Sureihi, passed away in hospital on Friday night.

On Saturday, Sureihi’s family members gathered outside the hospital and demanded answers about why police confiscated his goods, and that what forced him to douse himself in gasoline and set himself alight.

Saudi officials did not comment over the self-immolation, and refused to reveal the man’s name or age.

There have been several acts of self-immolation across Arab countries since self-immolation of Tunisia’s Mohamed Bouazizi in December 2010, which provoked an anti-regime uprising in the North African country.

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

There have been numerous demonstrations in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province since February 2011, with protestors calling for political reform.

Anti-government protests have intensified since November 2011, when security forces opened fire on protestors in Qatif, killing five people and leaving scores more injured.

Activists say there are over 30,000 political prisoners in Saudi Arabia.

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