Saudi police established numerous checkpoints throughout the capitol to prevent any massing of demonstrators for the Kingdom’s “Day of Rage. Small protests occurred in the east and north with police firing on protestors on Thursday in Qatif. But those were demonstrations by Shias demanding more rights as well as the release of prisoners held for a more than a decade on suspicion of being involved in the Khobar Towers attack. Few Sunnis took up the call for reform that had been so prominently featured on social media sites like Facebook.
Voice of America reports:
Eastern Saudi Arabia is home to many of the country’s Shi’ite Muslims, who are about 10 percent of the total Saudi population. They say they are often the victims of discrimination.
The eastern provinces are also home to much of Saudi Arabia’s oil.
The eastern rallies took place despite a Saudi ban on protests enacted after several small groups of demonstrators gathered to demand change.
The United States has said it was closely monitoring the situation and reiterated its support for the right to peaceful assembly.
There is no such “right” in Saudi Arabia and you can be shot for trying to create one. That is the message sent by such a massive show of force by the Saudi police.