In Response to Small Protests, Saudi Arabia Vows to Enforce Ban on ‘All Demonstrations’

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King Abdullah. Photo: Wiki

Fearing an Egyptian-style uprising, the Saudi Arabian government warned potential protesters today that it will enforce a ban on marches, signaling that the small protests held in the country over the past few days would no longer be tolerated. More than 17,000 people backed a Facebook campaign to hold two demonstrations in Saudi Arabia this month, and minor protests began spreading yesterday. The demands were mainly for the release of prisoners the protesters say are held without trial, and for Shi'ites to get senior government jobs and benefits like other citizens. The government of Saudi Arabia — an absolute monarchy without an elected parliament — denies the protesters' accusations. "The kingdom's regulations totally ban all sorts of demonstrations, marches, sit-ins, as they contradict Islamic Sharia law and the values and traditions of Saudi society," the interior ministry said in a statement today, adding that "security forces would stop all attempts to disrupt public order."

Saudi Arabia bans protest rallies [Al Jazeera]
Saudi Arabia imposes ban on all protests [BBC]