SAUDI security forces yesterday opened fire on anti-regime demonstrations in the eastern city of Qatif, injuring several protesters.
The attack came after thousands of Saudi protesters took to the streets in Qatif, demanding the release of political prisoners, including a prominent Shia cleric.
Chanting slogans in support of social justice in the oil-rich Eastern Province, protesters demanded the regime stop the killing of civilians by Saudi-backed forces in neighbouring Bahrain.
Many demonstrators were also arrested in the crackdown.
On Thursday, thousands of protesters had also taken to the streets in the city, calling for the release of political prisoners and the downfall of the US-backed monarchy.
Earlier in the week, similar demonstrations were held against the regime in the town of Awamiyah and the city of Buraydah.
Tensions have been running high in Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province in the past weeks following the detention of Shia cleric Sheikh Nemr al-Nemr, who was attacked, injured and arrested by Saudi security forces while driving from a farm to his house in the Qatif region of Eastern Province on July 8th.
His family members, after they were allowed to visit him in prison, said he has been badly tortured in jail. Sheikh Nemr has been on hunger strike since July 19.
Since February 2011, protesters have held demonstrations on a regular basis in the Kingdom’s east, mainly in Qatif and Awamiyah, calling for the release of all political prisoners, freedom of expression and assembly, and an end to widespread discrimination.
However, the demonstrations have turned into protests against the repressive Al Saud feudal regime, especially since November 2011, when Saudi security forces killed five protesters and injured many others in the oil-rich region.
According to Human Rights Watch, the Saudi regime ‘routinely represses expression critical of the government’.