Middle East Unrest Spreads to Saudi Arabia
Videos have been posted online that are purported to show protesters in Saudi Arabia being shot at by security forces as reports emerge of violence in the east of the country. For video click above link.
By Alastair Good
05 October 2011
Saudi police sealed off the village of al-Awamiya in the east of the country on Monday night after using live fire to disperse Shia protesters, according to exiled Saudi dissidents.
A group calling itself arabianrevolution have posted videos on YouTube which they claim show Saudi security forces in al-Awamiya, home to much of the Sunni kingdom's Sunni minority, firing on protesters on Monday evening.
In the video a makeshift roadblock of burning tyres can be seen as the sound of gunfire echoes in the background.
As the camera pans right, two security service vehicles can be seen with their headlights pointed toward the protesters.
Shouts of Allahu Akbar (God is great) are interspersed with the sound of gunshots.
The group have also posted footage purported to have been shot on Monday night in the eastern city of al-Qatif, near the bridge which links Saudi Arabia to Bahrain.
Bahrain, home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet, called in security forces from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab countries in March to quash demonstrations against King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa whose Sunni Muslim family rules over the majority Shi'ite population.
In the footage smoke fills the street as young men with covered faces stand in front of what appear to be security service vehicles with their lights flashing.
The stand-off ends as shots are fired and the protesters retreat.
So far Saudi Arabia has not seen the widespread protests that have led to regime change in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.
King Abdullah has been making some concessions in an effort to avoid the bloody confrontations that are taking place in Yemen to the south and Syria to the north, announcing ten days ago that women would be allowed to run and cast ballots in the 2015 municipal elections and pardoning a woman sentenced to 10 lashes for defying the kingdom's ban on women driving.