Friday, August 04, 2006

Saudi: Dammam and Qatif see Shi'a pro-Hizbullah protests

Jazeera is reporting that the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia has seen several protest marches by apparently mostly Shi’a in support of Hizbullah. As usual, this is less about Sunni-Shi’a splits (almost all Sunni and Shi’a are united these days in support of Hizbullah’s actions) and more about regimes being scared of any popular political action from any quarter which they can’t control. My admittedly imperfect translation without a dictionary handy below the link to the Arabic:

The Third of it’s Kind
Saudi Police Break Up Shi’ites Who Came Out In Qatif In Support Of Hizbullah

[picture caption: Saudi papers ignored the Dammam and Qatif Protests (AFP)]

The Saudi police late on Thursday prevented a number of Shi’a protestors from marching in the city of Qatif in the east of the kingdom in solidarity with Hizbullah and condemning Israel’s war on Lebanon.

The police set up checkpoints around the city to prevent the arrival of more protestors who came out into the streets for the third time in the last few days.

More than 2000 Shi’ites marched the day before yesterday in the city at the same time as another protest which hundreds participated in in Dammam repeating – according to a Saudi Shi’a internet site – chants of “No Shi’ites, No Sunnis, Islamic Unity” and also “O beloved Nasrallah, strike strike Tel Aviv”, and carrying the yellow flags of Hizbullah and pictures of its Secretary General Sayyid Hasan Nasrallah, before they broke up peacefully in the midst of a light security deployment.

The protests passed without Saudi papers referring to them, papers who had been among the first to criticize Hizbullah’s capture of two Israeli soldiers and described the operation as an adventure which didn’t consider the consequences.

Qatif is known as a political center for the Shi’a given the number of protests which it has seen in the last few decades. It witnessed large protests in which dozens were killed according to Shi’a activists in November 1979 after the victory of the Iranian Revolution. It also saw protests in 2002 in support of the Palestinian people which were marked by violence.

Source: Al-Jazeera + Reuters


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