Riyadh, March 5 (DPA) Authorities in Saudi Arabia Saturday announced a ban on protests, ahead of a mass demonstration planned for Friday and dubbed “Day of Rage.”
“The kingdom’s regulations prohibit all kinds of demonstrations, marches and sit-in protests, as well as calling for them, as they go against the principles of Shariah and Saudi customs and traditions,” the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said security forces would take all necessary action against those who violate the regulations.
A Facebook group has been calling for the March 11 protests to demand political reforms, including the election of governors and members of the upper house of parliament, the release of political prisoners, more employment opportunities, and greater freedoms.
The ban also follows a small protests by the country’s Shia minority in the east on Friday demanding the release of prisoners.
Saudi authorities were recently criticized by rights groups, including the New York-based Human Rights Watch, for the arrest of Sheikh Tawfiq al-Amir, a Shia cleric who was calling for a constitutional monarchy and equal rights for minority Shias.