Sunday, March 13, 2011

Saudi Protests Draw Hundreds

Wall Street Journal
March 12, 2011

Hundreds of protesters demonstrated Friday in two eastern Saudi Arabian cities, a day after police broke up a march in that region.

But despite calls for protest in Riyadh, no demonstrators could be seen amid a stepped-up police presence here.

While mostly avoiding a direct confrontation with protesters in those Eastern Province cities, the Sunni Saudi monarchy appeared to be taking no chances in its effort to keep antigovernment wave from spreading to the world's largest exporter of crude oil.

About 500 protesters, mainly Shiite Muslims who make up a large part of the population in the region, demonstrated in Al-Hofuf, in the Eastern Province alongside the country's major oil field Ghawar.

They called for the release of prisoners held without charges, said Ibrahim al-Mugaiteeb, president of Human Rights First Society. There was no gunfire or clashes with police who stood by, Mr. al-Mugaiteeb said. At least 10 people were arrested, witnesses said.