Mon Oct 3, 2011
Security forces have clashed in Saudi Arabia with pro-reform protesters in the Qatif Governorate in the Eastern Province of the country, Press TV reports.
The Saudis had gathered in an anti-government demonstration in the province’s Awamiyah village, a Press TV correspondent reported. They chanted slogans against the province’s Governor, Prince Mohammed bin Fahd, — the son of the late King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud.
Reports say the forces arrested a 70-year-old man, whose son had participated in the protests, demanding the son to surrender himself in exchange for his father’s release.
A larger demonstration is scheduled for Monday in the city of Qatif, where protesters often take to the streets despite a heavy security presence to condemn Riyadh’s role in the brutal crackdown on anti-regime protesters in Bahrain.
The Saudi demonstrators call for respect for human rights, implementation of further reforms, freedom of expression, and the release of political prisoners, some of whom have been held without trial for more than 16 years.
Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy, known for its intolerance of dissent. Earlier in the year, the Saudi Interior Ministry imposed a ban on all kinds of demonstrations and public gatherings.
Human Rights Watch says hundreds of dissidents have been arrested since February as part of the Saudi government’s suppression of anti-government protests.
According to the Saudi-based Human Rights First Society (HRFS), the detainees were subjected to physical and mental torture.