Sunday, March 13, 2011

Saudi Arabia Protest: ‘Day of Rage’ Failed to Gather Thousands of People

Hundreds of people gathered in several cities of Saudi to protest and ask for the government the release of Shiite prisoners and greater power and representation in the government.

Dubbed as the “Day of Rage”, only hundreds of protesters marched at the city of Hofuf east of Riyadh.

In Qatif, which is predominantly occupied by Shiite Muslims, reports indicate no great activity or gathering of people to demonstrate against the government. However, on Friday night, around 200 people were seen demonstrating near Qatif. Some reports said officers just observed the protesters without anyone of them taken into custody. But this was contradicted by human rights groups in Saudi. They said that state security forces had shot and dispersed the crowd.

In Hofuf, three protesters were reportedly taken by security forces.

Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour Turki said of the planned “Day of Rage” and its turnout:

"You've seen the response of the Saudi people. This is their response to the call for protest."

For weeks, Shiite Muslims had called for protests and scheduled a “Day of Rage” taking inspiration from all the uprisings against the government from Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. However, as reports would indicate, the planned massive protest on the large Muslim country fizzled out.

The preparedness of the government and its showing of strong force proved to be a main factor to the result of the planned massive protest. For days before the March 11 demonstration, state security and police had been more visible around the country, and set up more check points said several reports. Saudi government had also said that it will not tolerate any uprising and demonstration against the government.

Despite the scant turnout, organizers are unfazed and are not losing heart.

Eman Al Nafjan, a reform advocate said,

"We need to keep repeating ourselves over and over…until something happens."

Photo credit: LATimes

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