Latest news Saudi Arabia: demonstration against the repressive regime


Aug 6, 2012 - Protesters have held a demonstration against the repressive regime of Al Saud in Tarout Island of Saudi Arabia.

The demonstrators on Sunday condemned the recent killing of a teenager by the Saudi police.

The protesters in Tarout also expressed solidarity with prominent detained Shia cleric Sheikh Nemr al-Nemr, who was attacked, injured and arrested by the security forces of the Al Saud regime while driving from a farm to his house in Qatif on July 8. 

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

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

Press TV has conducted an interview with Hisham Jaber, director of the Middle East Studies Center, from Beirut, to further discuss the issue. The following is a rough transcription of the interview.

Press TV: I’d like to get your opinion, Mr. Jaber, on these demands of the protesters, i.e. the release of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, as well as the release of many of these political activists. Do you believe that the Saudi monarchy will honor these demands? 

Jaber: I’m not sure that the Saudi monarchy will honor the demands however way they will do it. It’s not the end of the day. It’s not the end of all requests, you know. It’s a very, very complicated problem.

Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr was accused by an official in Saudi Arabia to have psychological problems, which is not true at all. It’s a new accusation.

Of course, the people in Saudi Arabia who are asking for equality, for freedom, for democracy, they will be accused all to be crazy or having psychological problems. 

The problem in Saudi Arabia, first of all, does not [only] concern the Shia community which consists of 15 percent of the population. We are talking about more than three million Saudi citizens who are asking peacefully to be a citizen like the others. That’s it.

Also others in Saudi Arabia, we are not only talking about the Shia, don’t forget that yesterday or the day before, demonstrations were in al-Medina. A demonstrator was asking also to release the prisoners of “opinion”. I think there is escalation in Saudi Arabia about this question. 

For one and a half years, people in Qatif are asking for their demands, and the authority is using harm against them, provoking harm and violence.

If you remember that last year, especially on March 5th when the government sent the police to stop those demonstrations, saying that it contradicts the Islamic Sharia and the value of the tradition of Saudi society, and the result of disturbing public opinion and public order, no one can believe that it’s against the Sharia.

The Sharia, Islam is a region of freedom and especially freedom of opinion. It’s open; it’s not closed. Peaceful demonstrations are not in any way disturbing public orders.

But if the government uses violence against those citizens, of course it will provoke, you know, it will disturb the public peace or the public inside the city. 

Press TV: Looking towards the future then for the Saudi monarchy and Saudis in general, do you believe that there’s a period of instability now coming in the country? 

Jaber: No, I don’t think so because no matter what happens in the Arab world it will affect in one way or another the Saudi situation, the Saudi unity and the Saudi security.

Bahrain, for example, cannot stay like this. At the end of the day, the people in Bahrain will achieve what they want, especially democracy.

It will be very, very critical for the Saudis because democracy is contagious, as we always say. It will move to Saudi Arabia. And the people in Saudi Arabia, they want democracy whether they are Sunni or Shia.

I think that the United States of America, which always has interests with the Saudi regime, it seems it’s blind about what happened in Saudi Arabia - the quest of democracy. It cannot stay like this forever.

We have experience that the Americans they change from one day to another their support to any regime when they see that that regime is not able to stay and to protect their interests. 






7/28/2012 - Shia demonstrators wounded and arrested after they take to the streets against the Saudi regime

The protest broke out in Qatif, Eastern Province, a minority Shia stronghold. Mohammed al-Shakouri is among the people detained. He was wanted by the authorities. Saudi Arabia backs the anti-Assad uprising in Syria but crushes in blood its own domestic dissenters.

Riyadh (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Saudi security forces have opened fire against demonstrators after the latter took to the streets in Qatif (Al-Sharqiyya or Eastern Province) to demand democratic reforms and the release of political prisoners.

With hundreds of people invading city streets, shouting slogans and setting tyres on fire, anti-riot police responded firing rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.

Scores were wounded and dozens were arrested, including Mohammed al-Shakouri, described by the Interior Ministry as a wanted fugitive because he was among 23 men named as suspects in connection with the January disturbances in the Eastern Province.

The authorities accused demonstrators of possessing illegal weapons, opening fire on the public and police as well as serving "foreign agendas" to overthrow the established order.

The Qatif demonstration was organised to demand the release of political prisoners, including Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.

The protests that have intensified in recent days pit the Shia minority, which is concentrated in oil-rich eastern Saudi Arabia, and the Saudi ruling family, which is Sunni and Wahhabi.

The start of protests dates back to March 2011. They broke out in the wake of unrest in Bahrain, a small Gulf state with a Shia majority ruled by a Sunni royal family. Eventually, Saudi troops and other Gulf forces were brought in to quell the disturbances, which they did with loss of life.

As AsiaNews noted in an article last year, the intervention of Saudi Arabia and Qatar effectively snuffed out the Arab spring, the movement of popular protests that sought to change the societies of North Africa and the Middle East.

The movement's failure is thus not due to religious fundamentalism, but to the strength of a political power that "submits" religion to its rule, said Prof Madawi al-Rasheed of King's College London.

At present, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are the main Arab backers of the war against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, finding moral and material support among extremist Muslim groups fighting the Alawi-controlled regime in Damascus.


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