Saudi Shia protesters demand reform & withdrawal of troops

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Saudi Arab
Saturday, 23 April 2011


saudi_shia_protestThousands of Saudi protesters have once again poured into the streets in the east of country to express solidarity with anti-government protesters in Bahrain, calling for withdrawal of KSA troops there.

Condemning Saudi Arabia's military intervention in Bahrain,
Protesters also called for human rights reform, freedom of expression and the release of political prisoners in their country.

The gathering in the town of Awwamiya defied a call by leading Shi'ite clerics a day earlier for an end to two months of protests in the conservative kingdom's Eastern Province, in an apparent bow to government pressure.

Shi'ite activists said they were protesting against the destruction of Shi'ite mosques in Bahrain by the Sunni-led government, after its crackdown on a pro-democracy movement in the country led mostly by Shi'ites.

"There are about 2000 men and women objecting to the burning of the Holy Quran in Bahrain by the Gulf Peninsula Shield forces, who have also demolished mosques in Bahrain. They (the protesters) are also calling for human rights in Saudi Arabia," an Awwamiya activist told Reuters by telephone.

The Sunni Muslim monarchy of Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter and a major U.S. ally, does not tolerate any form of public dissent. Other than scattered Shi'ite protests, the kingdom has not seen the mass uprisings seen in other countries across the region.

But Bahrain's Shi'ite-led uprising unnerved nearby Saudi Arabia, which is connected to the Gulf island kingdom by a causeway. It feared protests could embolden its own Shi'ites.

Saudi Shi'ites in the Eastern Province have protested against Bahrain's move last month to quash its pro-democracy movement, in which the country's Sunni rulers called in troops from neighbouring Sunni-led Gulf states including Saudi Arabia.

Thursday, Hundreds of Shi'ites staged protests in the main Shi'ite city of Qatif and Awwamiya, a neighbouring village, an activist said.

Saudi authorities have been increasingly nervous about protests, arresting participants and making independent travel for journalists more difficult in the Eastern Province.

More than 160 Saudi activists have been arrested since February, Human Rights Watch said in a report this week.

">  the protesters called for the immediate withdrawal of the kingdom's troops from Bahrain. Saudi Arabia sent 1,000 troops to Bahrain to help the ruling Al Khalifa family in its brutal crackdown on anti-regime protesters. Protesters in Saudi Arabia also denounced the destruction of mosques in Bahrain by Saudi-backed forces. The rallies were held in the cities of Qatif, Sihat and Awamiyah.

Protesters also called for human rights reform, freedom of expression and the release of political prisoners in their country.

The gathering in the town of Awwamiya defied a call by leading Shi'ite clerics a day earlier for an end to two months of protests in the conservative kingdom's Eastern Province, in an apparent bow to government pressure.

Shi'ite activists said they were protesting against the destruction of Shi'ite mosques in Bahrain by the Sunni-led government, after its crackdown on a pro-democracy movement in the country led mostly by Shi'ites.

"There are about 2000 men and women objecting to the burning of the Holy Quran in Bahrain by the Gulf Peninsula Shield forces, who have also demolished mosques in Bahrain. They (the protesters) are also calling for human rights in Saudi Arabia," an Awwamiya activist told Reuters by telephone.

The Sunni Muslim monarchy of Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter and a major U.S. ally, does not tolerate any form of public dissent. Other than scattered Shi'ite protests, the kingdom has not seen the mass uprisings seen in other countries across the region.

But Bahrain's Shi'ite-led uprising unnerved nearby Saudi Arabia, which is connected to the Gulf island kingdom by a causeway. It feared protests could embolden its own Shi'ites.

Saudi Shi'ites in the Eastern Province have protested against Bahrain's move last month to quash its pro-democracy movement, in which the country's Sunni rulers called in troops from neighbouring Sunni-led Gulf states including Saudi Arabia.

Thursday, Hundreds of Shi'ites staged protests in the main Shi'ite city of Qatif and Awwamiya, a neighbouring village, an activist said.

Saudi authorities have been increasingly nervous about protests, arresting participants and making independent travel for journalists more difficult in the Eastern Province.

More than 160 Saudi activists have been arrested since February, Human Rights Watch said in a report this week.

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