CIA director meets Saudi king to intensify crackdown on protesters

The director of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), David Petraeus, has met with the Saudi king in Saudi Arabia as Riyadh intensifies its crackdown on anti-government protesters.

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - Petraeus met with ailing Saudi King Abdullah in the city of Jeddah on Monday, Arab News reported.

There have been no reports on what was discussed during the meeting.

On Monday, Saudi activists called for anti-government demonstrations across Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province as tension remains high in the oil-rich region over the detention of Shia cleric Sheikh Nemer al-Nemer.

The activists called for demonstrations to be held in Qatif, Awamiyah, Tarut, Safwa, and Sihat to condemn Riyadh's deadly crackdown on the recent protests. Bahraini activists announced that demonstrations would also be held in the Bahraini towns of Sar and Daih in solidarity with the Saudi protesters.

On Sunday, Saudi security forces opened fire on demonstrators in Qatif who were protesting against the detention of al-Nemr. At least three people were killed and many others injured in the attack.

Earlier in the day, al-Nemer was injured when regime forces fired at his car in Awamiyah. There has been no word on his condition or whereabouts.

Since February 2011, Saudi protesters have held numerous demonstrations in the Eastern Province, mainly in the Qatif region and the town of Awamiyah, calling for the release of all political prisoners, freedom of expression and assembly, and an end to widespread discrimination.

However, the demonstrations turned into protests against the regime of the House of Saud, especially after November 2011, when Saudi security forces killed five protesters and injured many others in the Eastern Province.

The Saudi Interior Ministry issued a statement on March 5, 2011, prohibiting “all forms of demonstrations, marches or protests, and calls for them, because that contradicts the principles of the Islamic sharia, the values and traditions of Saudi society, and results in disturbing public order and harming public and private interests.”

In June, Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud ordered the country’s security forces to go on a state of high alert due to what he called a “turbulent situation” in the region.

According to Human Rights Watch, the Saudi regime “routinely represses expression critical of the government.”


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