Shot, Protesting In Eastern Saudi Arabia.
Events have reached Saudi Arabia as the Washington Post reports:
“DAMMAM, SAUDI ARABIA – Three people were injured when police opened fire during a protest in eastern Saudi Arabia on Thursday, according to a witness and a Saudi official.
The witness, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals by authorities, said police at first fired over protesters’ heads but then began shooting directly at them during a march in central Qatif, a predominantly Shiite town in oil-rich Eastern Province.
An Interior Ministry spokesman said police fired over the heads of protesters after demonstrators attacked them, the Reuters news agency reported. He did not say how the injuries were caused but said one of those hurt was a policeman.
At the time of the shooting, “the police were maybe 50 meters away” from the protesters, who were calling for the release of prisoners, the witness said. It was not immediately clear whether the bullets were live or rubber.”
The BBC adds:
“Protests are illegal in Saudi Arabia, which has had an absolute monarchy since its unification in the 1930s. “
Bloomberg has more background information:
“Saudi Arabia has seen protests in the kingdom’s Eastern Province this month, though nothing approaching the size witnessed in Bahrain and Egypt.
Shiite Muslims held two demonstrations on March 3 to call for the release of prisoners. About 100 people staged the first protest in the Shiite Muslim village of Awwamiya in the Eastern Province, while a similar number of people later demonstrated in the neighboring city of Qatif.
Security forces broke up another protest yesterday in Qatif. Police fired above the crowd of 120-150 people to end the rally after a policeman taking video to document the event was attacked, Major General Mansour al-Turki, an Interior Ministry spokesman, said in an interview. Three people were injured, two protesters and one policeman, he said. “