Saudi troops break up protests with force
Saudi security forces in the eastern city of Omran have broken up a protest rally, held to condemn the kingdom’s military intervention in Bahrain.
Earlier this week, armed forces from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates rolled into Bahrain to assist Manama in its crackdown on Shia-led anti-government protests against the ruling Sunni dynasty.
Similar protest rallies were also held in some other eastern Saudi cities, including Qatif, Safwa, Awamiya and al-Rabeeya.
The protesters, mainly Shias, also called for the release of “forgotten political prisoners,” who are being held unjustly and without trial, some as long as 16 years.
On Thursday, Saudi security forces fired teargas and rubber bullets at anti-government demonstrators in Qatif protesting against Saudi Arabia’s military invasion of Bahrain. The protesters also called for political reforms.
Friday’s protest rallies came shortly after Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, in a rare televised speech, announced massive social benefits including offering employees two months extra salary, higher unemployment benefits, better healthcare and improved housing.
He also ordered the creation of 60,000 new jobs within the security forces the setting up of a commission to fight corruption.
The Saudi king, however, coupled the handouts with a warning. The 86-year old monarch said on Friday that threats to the nation’s security and stability would not be tolerated and that Saudi security forces would crackdown on any anti-government protests.
Meanwhile, his speech and the royal decrees that followed failed to make any mention of an expected cabinet shuffle or any political reforms.