Saudi Security Forces Arrest Protesters in Eastern Region

Saudi security forces detained a number of people in the eastern al-Qatif region after Shiite protesters burned tires last night, the official Saudi Press Agency reported, citing an unidentified Interior Ministry spokesman.

Mohammad Kadhim Jaafar al-Shakhoury, wanted by security agencies, is among those detained, the spokesman said. There were no casualties during the riots or when the security forces moved in to end the incidents and detain protesters, he said.

On July 14 SPA reported that four Saudi security personnel were injured in an attack by masked gunmen while on patrol in the oil-rich Eastern province. In that attack gunmen also fired at a police station and threw a petrol bomb while riding motorcycles, the Riyadh-based news service reported at the time.

While Saudi Arabia, with its Sunni majority, largely avoided the unrest that spread across the Arab world last year, minority Shiite protesters have clashed with security forces in eastern towns.

Saudi Arabia has accused Shiite-led Iran of interfering in the affairs of Arab countries in the Persian Gulf, where three-fifths of the world’s oil reserves are located. Iran denies interfering and accuses Sunni rulers in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia of discriminating against Shiites.

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