Saudi security forces withdraw from Shiite village
Riyadh: Saudi security forces have withdrawn from Shiite villages in Qatif in eastern Saudi Arabia following unrest last week in which four people were killed, witnesses said Monday.
The move appears aimed at reducing friction with the kingdom`s minority Shiites on the first day of Ashura, a 10-day commemoration of the 7th-century killing of the highly revered Imam Hussein.
Security forces pulled out overnight Sunday from Shweika and Awamiya villages in the Eastern Province, scene of intense clashes between protesters and security forces of the Sunni-dominated kingdom, witnesses and rights activists said.
"Armoured vehicles transporting anti-riot forces towards Dammam city have pulled out and checkpoints have been lifted," said one witness, after those forces were brought in as reinforcements during demonstrations.
Three Shiites were shot dead last week during protests triggered by the suspicious death of a fourth Shiite near a government security checkpoint.
The interior ministry said security forces had come under fire from gunmen operating on "foreign orders," hinting at involvement by Saudi`s arch rival Iran. The ministry said two policemen were wounded in the clashes.
Saudi`s Eastern province is home to the majority of the kingdom`s Shiite population of around two million, who represent around 10 percent of Saudis.
In March, Shiites in the oil-rich Eastern Province demonstrated in sympathy with fellow Shiites in neighbouring Bahrain, after security forces clamped down on pro-democracy protests led by that country`s majority Shiite community.
Qatif protesters were back on the street in October demanding the release of those arrested in March.
Last week, they demonstrated demanding the release of prisoners.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Delhi Police arrests AAP MLA in the middle of press conference
- Pak grants 91-year-old Indian's last wish - a trip to his ‘ancestral home’
- Bihar: Acid attack on girl in Aurangabad district, victim critical
- MP: Dalit families migrating from village due to hooligans
- Is there any political clash between Akhilesh Yadav and Shivpal Yadav?
- Three federal police officials killed in Mexico
- Eight killed, seven injured after jeep falls into deep gorge in Uttarakhand's Tehri Garhwal
- Masked men raise Pakistan, ISIS flags in Kashmir; stones pelted at policemen
- West Virginia floods: 20 dead, several stranded - Damage is widespread and devastating
- US Senator praises NSG after India failed to get membership