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Pro-democracy Protestors in Eastern Saudi Arabia Find their Way in the Streets

Yusur Al-Bahrani

November 25, 2011

At least four people were killed and several wounded in Saudi Arabia. Naser Muhaishi was killed as Saudi forces attacked peaceful protestors on November 19. The Saudi authorities in Qatif seized Muhaishi’s body and did not allow his family to proceed with the funeral. Two days later, thousands went into the streets protesting the death of Muhaishi. The Saudi military opened fire killing another protestor, Ali Falfal while injuring hundreds. The army and police surrounded hospitals threatening the wounded and arresting activists.

The next day, Saudi authorities released the two bodies. On November 23, two more, Ali Quraikas and Muneeb Othman, were killed when gunfire broke as the Saudi forces raided the funeral procession in Qatif region in Eastern Saudi province. Violence in Qatif region, where many Shiites in the predominantly Sunni country live, has been escalating as the government continues oppressing the Saudi Shiite minority.

While participants in the demonstrations confirm that government forces opened fire on them, the Saudi Interior Ministry denied that. Mansur Al-Turki, Interior Ministry Spokesman blamed “unknown criminal sources” for the incidents. He described unarmed pro-democracy protestors as “rioters with suspicious objectives.” On the other hand, Al-Muhaishi’s father said: “Those [government forces] who were at the checkpoint shot my son.” He also added that his son did not even participate in the protests.

Protestors’ demands are to release the “forgotten prisoners” and end the ongoing discrimination, oppression and repression. Many Saudi political and human rights activists have been tortured and arrested in the last decade including a number of them who were arbitrary arrested in 1996 and have not been released until today. Two hundred years ago, Al-Saud royal has been in power in the country. Since then, discrimination against minorities and women has been taking place in the kingdom.

While NATO invaded Libya in the name of liberation, Saudi Arabia have not been not been condemned by the United States and its allies. The US proposed sanctions on Syria, but is silent towards human rights violations committed by the Al-Saud monarchy. The US imports 160 million barrel of oil every year from Saudi Arabia.

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