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Saudi Arabian demonstrators hold rally in Qatif

Posted by on April 1, 2011 0 Comment

On Friday, protesters defied the government ban on demonstrations in Qatif and held signs that called on the government to pull out of the Persian Gulf state.

Bahrain’s main opposition bloc says 250 people have been detained and 44 others have gone missing since a brutal government crackdown against protesters.

Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society member and former lawmaker, Mattar Ibrahim Mattar, said on Monday that a large number of Bahrainis get arrested at checkpoints or during house raids. Family members have given accounts about their loved ones not returning home.

“We have around 250 confirmed arrested and 44 who are missing, though that number fluctuates when people reappear after hiding from police,” Mattar said.

Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar dispatched their armed forces to assist in quelling protests in crisis-hit Bahrain.

The dispatch of troops from Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf allies of Bahrain highlighted concerns about possible spillover from the country, where month-old protest rallies seek to break the Western-backed government’s monopoly on power.

Saudi Arabia and other Arab states in the region fear that any concession by Bahraini rulers could embolden more protests against their own rule.

Recently, protesters in Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Yemen have been demanding government reforms.

Foreign military intervention in Bahrain has caused UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to call for a meaningful and broad-based national dialogue.

The UN chief has also urged Bahrain’s regional neighbors and the international community to support a dialogue process and an environment conducive to credible reform in Bahrain.

Bahraini opposition groups, including al-Wefaq party, have denounced the Saudi military intervention as an invasion of their country.

Bahraini demonstrators maintain that they will continue with their protests until their demands for freedom, constitutional monarchy as well as a proportional voice in the government are met.

At least 20 people have so far been killed and about 1,000 others have been injured since anti-government protests began in the Persian Gulf island nation in mid-February. Agencies

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