Saudi security forces to crack down on any unlawful protesters

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by pmaitra, Mar 6, 2011.

  1. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Saudi security forces to crack down on any unlawful protesters

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    Saudi Arabia's Interior Ministry warns it will crack down on protesters who take their grievances to the streets.

    From Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN
    March 5, 2011 1:38 p.m. EST


    (CNN) -- Coming off two days of demonstrations, Saudi Arabia's Interior Ministry warned Saturday that it would crack down on protesters who continue to take their grievances to the streets.

    Saudi security forces will be "authorized to take all measures against anyone who tries to break the law and cause disorder," the ministry said, according to the country's state-run news agency.

    The government cited how some were trying "to get around the systems" and "achieve illegitimate goals."

    The Interior Ministry spokesman said that kingdom law prevents all kinds of demonstrations, protests, strikes and even a call for them because they're against Sharia law and Saudi values and traditions.

    In response, Ibrahim al-Mugaiteeb, president of the Human Rights First Society, told CNN that the Interior Ministry is "not at all sensitive" to the massive unrest sweeping the Arab world.

    "I'm hoping that the Ministry of the Interior and the government of Saudi Arabia will not choose to take the security solution road because that was already tested in other Arab countries and, by God, it did not work," said al-Mugaiteeb, who's in Saudi Arabia.

    On Saturday, the Saudi government downplayed Friday's protests in the Eastern Province, saying the people weren't calling for a regime change.

    "The protests that took place in the Eastern Province were small and were not political in nature," a Saudi government official told CNN. "The protesters weren't calling for regime change, they were asking for more jobs and calling for release of prisoners they feel were imprisoned unjustly."

    The official, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said Friday's protest was not worrisome. "We don't feel they will spread throughout the kingdom or become bigger in nature," he said.

    Demonstrators who protested in Eastern Province were demanding the release of Shiite prisoners they feel are being held without cause.

    An outspoken Shiite prayer leader who demonstrators say was arrested more than a week ago was a focal point of the "day of rage" protest, said Ibrahim al-Mugaiteeb, president of the Human Rights First Society.

    Sheikh Tawfeeq Al-Amer was arrested Sunday after he gave a sermon two days earlier, on February 25, stating that Saudi Arabia should become a constitutional monarchy, human rights activists said.

    Friday's protest comes on the heels of two similar demonstrations held in the province Thursday, al-Mugaiteeb said, when about 200 protesters in the city of Qatif and 100 protesters in the city of Awamiyya called for the release of Shiite prisoners.

    Al-Mugaiteeb said authorities arrested 22 people who participated in Thursday's protest in Qatif.

    "We deplore this action by the Saudi security forces," he said.

    Another protest took place in Riyadh after Friday prayer, according to two Saudi activists. The sources asked not to be identified because of concerns for their safety.

    According to the activists, as many as 40 anti-government demonstrators gathered outside Al-Rajhi Mosque for a short protest. At least one man involved in organizing the protest was arrested by Saudi police, the activists said.

    The activists said the protesters attracted a crowd of worshipers leaving the mosque. Some of the protesters carried signs showing a map of Saudi Arabia that did not contain the words "Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," a clear affront to the Saudi royal family.

    The government official told CNN that he was not aware of any protests or arrests in Riyadh.

    When asked about the various rights groups in the kingdom who have been calling for the creation of a constitutional monarchy over the course of the past 2 weeks, the government official on Saturday stated, "Yes, there are groups here asking for more rights, calling for constitutional reforms, and that is their right to do so. King Abdullah has always encouraged a national dialogue and continues to do so."

    The official insisted that the king "is doing all he can to improve things for Saudis."

    "But in Saudi Arabia -- it's not like other countries -- we don't have or allow protests here. If people have a grievance, they can go and address it with the governors of their provinces or they can go to the Royal Court and address grievances directly there," the official said.

    Saudi Arabia has cracked down on protests in the past.

    Shiites are a minority in Saudi Arabia. They live primarily in the Eastern Province, where many major oil companies operate.

    The protests come as sectarian violence between Shiites and Sunnis flares in neighboring Bahrain.

    Analysts believe protests in Bahrain could spill over into Saudi Arabia's oil fields, located mostly in Shiite provinces.

    After three months abroad for medical treatment, Saudi King Abdullah returned home late last month to a Middle East shaken by unrest, and announced a series of sweeping measures aimed at relieving economic hardship and meeting with Bahrain's beleaguered monarch.

    The Saudi government released three Shiite political prisoners ahead of the king's return.

    Source: http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/meast/03/05/saudi.arabia.protest/index.html
     
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  3. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Saudi Arabia imposes ban on all protests

    Saudi Arabia imposes ban on all protests

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    Saudi officials are aware of protests - sometimes focused at their country - building across the region

    5 March 2011; BBC News

    All protests and marches are to be banned in Saudi Arabia, the interior ministry has announced on state TV.

    Its statement said security forces would use all measures to prevent any attempt to disrupt public order.

    The announcement follows a series of protests by the kingdom's Shia minority in the oil-producing eastern province.

    Last month, King Abdullah unveiled a series of benefits in an apparent bid to protect the kingdom from the revolts spreading throughout many Arab states.

    "Regulations in the kingdom forbid categorically all sorts of demonstrations, marches and sit-ins, as they contradict Islamic Sharia law and the values and traditions of Saudi society," the Saudi interior ministry statement said.

    It added that police were "authorised by law to take all measures needed against those who try to break the law".

    The protests in the Eastern Province - where much of the country's crude oil is sourced - have been demanding the release of prisoners who demonstrators say have been held without trial.

    The announcement of the crackdown on protests follows the return, last week, of King Abdullah to the capital after an absence of several months due to illness.

    He unveiled an additional $37bn (£22.7bn) in benefits for citizens, including a 15% pay rise for state employees, as well as extra funds for housing, studying abroad and social security.

    Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12656744
     
  4. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Saudi Arabia says won't tolerate protests

    Saudi Arabia says won't tolerate protests


    By Ulf Laessing
    RIYADH | Sat Mar 5, 2011 10:43am EST
    Reuters


    (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia warned potential protesters on Saturday that a ban on marches would be enforced, signaling the small protests by the Shi'ite minority in the oil-producing east would no longer be tolerated.

    "The kingdom's regulations totally ban all sorts of demonstrations, marches, sit-ins," the interior ministry said in a statement, adding security forces would stop all attempts to disrupt public order.

    Inspired by protests in other Arab countries there have been Shi'ite marches in the past few days in the east and unconfirmed activist reports of a small protest at a mosque in the Saudi capital Riyadh on Friday.

    The U.S. ally has not faced protests of the scale that hit Egypt and Tunisia that toppled veteran leaders, but dissent has built up as unrest has spread in Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan, Libya and Oman.

    More than 17,000 have backed a call on Facebook to hold two demonstrations this month, the first one on Friday.

    A loose alliance of liberals, moderate Islamists and Shi'ites have petitioned King Abdullah to allow elections in the kingdom which has no elected parliament, although even activists say they don't know how many of the almost 19 million Saudis back them.

    Last month, Abdullah returned to Riyadh after a three-month medical absence and unveiled $37 billion in benefits for citizens in an apparent bid to curb dissent.

    For about two weeks, Saudi Shi'ites have staged small protests in the kingdom's east, which holds much of the oil wealth of the world's top crude exporter and is near Bahrain, scene of protests by majority Shi'ites against their Sunni rulers.

    Shi'ite protests in Saudi Arabia started in the area of the main city Qatif and its neighbor Awwamiya and spread to the town of Hofuf on Friday. The demands were mainly for the release of prisoners they say are held without trial.

    Saudi Shi'ites often complain they struggle to get senior government jobs and other benefits like other citizens.

    The government of Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy without an elected parliament that usually does not tolerate public dissent, denies these charges.

    The interior ministry said demonstrations violated Islamic law and the kingdom's traditions, according to a statement carried by state news agency SPA.

    (Reporting by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Matthew Jones)

    Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/05/us-saudi-protests-idUSTRE72419N20110305
     
  5. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Clear attempt to pre-empt a Libya type revolt. Saudis have been having sleepless nights since the mid east revolts began.
    Damn I wish we had more oil in india that took care of all domestic needs at least. Expect the price to go up to 150 a barrel if a revolution actually breaks out in saudi.
     
  6. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Actually, oil has become a curse for all these Middle East countries. I really don't know if I want to wish that India had oil. It could have catalysed a lot of friction and factionalism.

    Regarding protests in general:
    Honestly, who knows whether the protesters are not funded by vested interests? Weren't the Kashmir protests also funded?

    Also, when we see so many protesters, what we don't see is that there are ten times that many who are not protesting. Maybe they are with the protesters, maybe they are not. We simply don't know.

    Here is a video (I am not taking sides):
     
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  7. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Yeah PM. The inherit success of the US in Iraq as far as toppling the regime and getting a puppet and control all oil is a good enough precedent to try again albeit using different methods.
     
  8. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    ^^ Exactly. Very well put. That is what I am hinting at. Not saying it did happen, just saying it is a possibility.
     

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