A demonstration in Qatif on last Thursday evening in solidarity with Bahrain's people
Hundreds of Shiites in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia; the Saudi oil producing region, demonstrated peacefully throughout the whole last week demanding the Saudi government for reforms and release of the "Forgotten" prisoners; who were imprisoned for sixteen years without a trial for being suspected in bombing U.S towers in Khobar in 1996. Security forces fired in the air to disperse the protesters in Qatif and Alahssa, and arrested many of them.
Saudi Shiite citizens, who are about 15% of the population, suffer from sectarian discrimination, they do not have the same rights and privileges as other citizens, and they face great difficulty in holding high positions in government.
Shiites protesters, who reached two thousands and included clerics and women, also, raised the Bahraini flag and slogans calling for the freedom of Bahrain and withdrawal of Saudi troops; which brutally repressed peaceful protesters in Bahrain.
Anti-riot forces, which were present in large numbers, used firearms and stun grenades to disperse protesters in Qatif. Moreover, hundreds of security forces closed the street that protesters marched through in attempt to stop them but they moved to other places.
The forces clashed with the protesters in Qatif, and wounded and arrested many of them who ranged between fourteen years old children and sixty years old elderly.
Many Saudi Shiite religious leaders in AlAhssa and Qatif condemned the Saudi military intervention and incriminated the massacres in Bahrain. Sheik Hasan Alsaffar, a prominent religious leader in Qatif, appealed to the Gulf governors to stop the bloodshed and violence in Bahrain, and confirmed that such action makes the situation more complicated. He, also, urged the governments to seek dialogue and political solutions in order to reach national reconciliation, security and stability.
Sheikh Ghazi Alshabeeb, a prominent cleric from Qatif, stated that such intervention "is definitely going to get things more complicated". He described the situation that Bahraini citizens go through as painful and shocking.
In his Friday sermon, Sheikh Husain Almustafa incriminated the creators of those "hideous massacres", and criticized the attacks of the "Peninsula Shield" forces against armless citizens in streets and even at their homes. He confirmed that peaceful demonstration is one of citizens' legal rights, and means to freedom of expression.
In another Friday sermon, Sayyed Moneer AlKhabbaz, a prominent religious leader in Qatif, declared his solidarity with Bahraini people. He urged all mass media in the Muslims World; especially the Gulf ones, to cover what happen in Bahrain with integrity and honesty. He assured that Shiite protester of Qatif and AlAhssa did not seek the over-through of the Saudi regime or separation; the called for "one identified demand which is full citizenship".
Moreover, Sayyed Abdullah AlMusawi, a prominent cleric in AlAhssa, called upon stopping the brutal attacks against Bahraini people, and warned from using the sectarian language in media coverage to the events in Bahrain.