Defying government and religious bans on protests, demonstrators in Saudi Arabia have rallied around a variety of causes. Chief among them are demands for an elected national leadership, more women’s rights and the release of political prisoners. Some rallies were held as a show of solidarity with protesters in other Arab countries
Chanting slogans against the Al Saud family, hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets in Qatif and Tarut Island on Friday to protest against Riyadh’s crackdown on Peaceful protests and to demand the immediate release of political prisoners.
They also expressed solidarity with anti-regime Shia protesters in neighboring Bahrain, where Saudi troops are helping the Manama government suppress peaceful demonstrations.
Arabian Citizens have held peaceful demonstrations in Eastern Province, mostly in the Deprived Majority Shia cities of Qatif and Awamiyah since February last year on an almost regular basis, demanding reforms, freedom of expression and the release of political prisoners.
Shia Protesters also want an end to economic and Sectarian discrimination against the oil-rich region. Several Shia demonstrators have been killed and dozens of activists have been arrested since the beginning of protests in the region.
On Thursday, protest rallies were held across the province to demand the prosecution of those who opened fire on demonstrators one week earlier.
Saudi security forces broke up the rallies using force and arrested several demonstrators.
Since February 2011,Shai Arabian protesters have held demonstrations on an almost regular basis in the oil-rich Eastern Province, mainly in Qatif and the town of Awamiyah, calling for the release of all political prisoners, freedom of expression and assembly, and an end to widespread discrimination.
Arabain protesters also want an end to economic and sectarian discrimination against the oil-rich region dominated by Shia Population . Several demonstrators have been killed and scores of activists have been arrested since the beginning of protests in the region.
Riyadh has intensified its crackdown on Shia protesters since the beginning of 2012.
The protests in Saudi Arabia take place against the backdrop of an absolute monarchy, in which King Abdullah and senior princes function as the supreme decision makers. The king serves as both head of state and head of government, appointing ministers as well as all members of the kingdom’s legislative body, which fulfills a largely consultative function. The kingdom’s constitution and legal system are both based on Islamic sharia law. The monarchy is hereditary.