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Saudi Arabian Police Disperse Prisoner-Protest Group in Riyadh

Saudi Arabian police dispersed a small group of people today in Riyadh calling for the release of prisoners.

“A group of individuals and family members gathered in front of the Human Rights Commission,” Mohammed al-Qahtani, a democracy advocate, said by phone from Riyadh. “They called for the release of political detainees.”

Images posted on Twitter accounts showed police surrounding a group of people in front of the government-run human rights organization and two Saudi women holding a sign saying “The People Want the Liberation of the Prisons.” Police closed a section of King Fahd Road today in front of the human rights office.

Saudi Arabia has remained unscathed by the popular uprisings in the Arab world that led to the toppling of leaders in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen. King Abdullah spent an additional 224 billion riyals ($60 billion) last year to create jobs, build homes and increase salaries for members of the armed forces.

The public affairs office of the Saudi Interior Ministry declined to comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Glen Carey in Riyadh at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at

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