Riyadh: Saudi women who were protesting in the eastern part of the kingdom were arrested after a ban was issued on all kinds of demonstrations, witnesses said Sunday.
Some 40 women held a protest Saturday in front of a government building in Dammam city, demanding the release of Shiite prisoners jailed since 1996 in connection with the Khobar bombing that killed 19 US soldiers.
They were reportedly beaten before they were detained.
The interior ministry issued a ban Saturday on all kinds of demonstrations, saying they go against Islamic law and traditions of the oil-rich kingdom.
The ministry said security forces would take all necessary action against those who violate the regulations.
The ban comes ahead of a Facebook group call for "Day of Rage" protests March 11 calling for political reforms, the release of political prisoners, more employment opportunities, and greater freedoms.
The ban also follows a series of protests by the country`s Shiite minority over the past week demanding the release of prisoners.