Saudi Arabia: Protests Not Allowed

Leaders get nervous as 'day of rage' approaches
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2011 2:34 PM CST
Bahraini anti-government protesters wave the national flag as they march past the Embassy of Saudi Arabia; officials have expected the revolt of Shia Muslims in Bahrain to spread to Saudi Arabia.   (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

(Newser) – Saudi Arabia's leaders are starting to shake in their boots: As a Facebook page calling for a "March 11 Revolution of Longing" in Saudi Arabia has begun attracting hundreds of viewers, the Interior Ministry today announced that demonstrations will not be tolerated in Saudi Arabia—and its security forces will act against anyone taking part in them. The Independent reports that the country yesterday was drafting up to 10,000 troops in fearful anticipation of next week's "day of rage." The opposition believes some 20,000 will gather in Riyadh and northeast parts of the country to demand an end to corruption—and possibly to the House of Saud.

The Interior Ministry statement said the kingdom bans all demonstrations because they contradict Islamic laws and society's values, adding that some people have tried to go around the law to "achieve illegitimate aims." Security forces were authorized to act against anyone violating the ban, the statement said. The Independent reports that the messages pushing the March 11 demonstrations suggest that women stand in the front to the protesters to help dissuade forces from shooting.

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