Washington: Saudi Arabian authorities have arrested dozens of women and at least five children after demonstrations in Riyadh and Buraida, human rights activists have said.
The women were demanding the release of relatives they say have been held for years without access to lawyers or a trial, the activists said.
According to CNN, Mohammed Al-Qahtani, a prominent activist currently on trial in Saudi Arabia on charges that include breaking allegiance to the Saudi king, said the women who were protesting are "female relatives of political prisoners."
Two other activists said that three of the women arrested in Riyadh were the wife and daughter and granddaughter of Suleiman al-Rashudi, a political activist who was arrested in December after giving a lecture in which he said protests were permitted in Islam.
Al-Rashudi previously spent five years in detention and was found guilty last year of, among other things, financing terrorism, incitement against the king and attempting to seize power.
According to the report, one amateur video purportedly shot at the scene showed women, some who brought their children, chanting, ‘the people call for the liberation of the prisons.’
In Buraida, the provincial capital of deeply conservative Qassim Province, activists said at least 26 women protested and were arrested outside the city``s Board of Grievances on Saturday, the scene of a similar protest in early January.
Many of the women brought their children, who they say were also arrested, the report added.