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Anti-govt. protests held in Saudi Arabia

Posted by on March 4, 2011 0 Comment

Hundreds of Saudis have taken to the streets in the eastern province of al-Ahsa, demanding the immediate release of a senior Shia cleric.

The peaceful protest rally, dubbed the ‘Day of Rage,’ which condemned the Saudi government’s detention of Sheikh Tawfiq al-Amer, was held in al-Hufuf district following the Friday Prayers.

The Shia cleric was arrested last Friday after a sermon in which he said Saudi Arabia should become a constitutional monarchy.

Sheikh Tawfiq al-Amer has been arrested several times over his calls for giving Shias, a minority in Saudi Arabia, further freedom to exercise their religious rights.

The Friday protest came one day after similar demonstrations in the province. On Thursday, hundreds of protesters in the cities of Qatif and Awamiyya took to the streets and called for the release of Shia prisoners, who they say are being held unjustly, some as long as 16 years.

“We want the prisoners free but we also have other demands. We want equality,” a protester in Qatif said.

Saudi authorities arrested 22 people for taking part in the protest in Qatif.

The latest protest comes against the backdrop of growing calls for a massive anti-government protest expected later in March. Tens of thousands of Saudis have already joined the drive.

Saudi youths have named March 11 the Day of Rage on the social networking website, Facebook.

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