Hundreds Protest in Riyadh

More than 200 gather outside Saudi Arabia's Interior Ministry
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 13, 2011 4:33 PM CDT
Saudi Shiite protesters chant slogans in Qatif, Saudi Arabia, March 11, 2011. Hundreds protested in heavily Shiite eastern Saudi Arabia Friday but hundreds of police prevented protests in the capital.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – More than 200 Saudis were allowed to protest outside the Interior Ministry today to demand the release of detainees in the largest demonstration in the capital since the regional outbreak of pro-democracy unrest. A massive show of force snuffed out a Facebook-based effort to stage unprecedented pro-democracy protests in Riyadh on Friday. But in heavily Shiite eastern Saudi Arabia, hundreds of protesters marched in at least four different locations, calling for the release of political prisoners and demanding reform. Saudi police opened fire to disperse one of the protests, wounding at least one man.

The protesters today demanded information on the fate of mostly Sunni detainees held on security and terrorism-related charges, and their immediate release. The protesters asked to meet with the interior minister, Prince Nayef, but their request was turned down and they were not allowed to go inside the building. Eyewitnesses said cameras were set up above the Interior Ministry building to film the sit-in, which some of the protesters said was to intimidate the protesters and possibly arrest them in the next days.

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