Today's news that Greek protesters were back and getting occasionally violent caught nobody by surprise. However what may be unexpected is that not only is the Arab Spring back (almost in time for Christmas) but it is in the bastion of "stability", not to menion crude oil, Saudi Arabia. As The Independent reports, "Pro-democracy protests which swept the Arab world earlier in the year have erupted in eastern Saudi Arabia over the past three days, with police opening fire with live rounds and many people injured, opposition activists say." What? Never heard of this before? Yes, amazing how efficient the media veil is when it has an agenda.
Saudi Arabia last night confirmed there had been fighting in the region and that 11 security personnel and three civilians had been injured in al-Qatif, a large Shia city on the coast of Saudi Arabia's oil-rich Eastern Province. The opposition say that 24 men and three women were wounded on Monday night and taken to al-Qatif hospital.
The Independent has been given exclusive details of how the protests developed by local activists. They say unrest began on Sunday in al-Awamiyah, a Shia town of about 25,000 people, when Saudi security forces arrested a 60-year-old man to force his son – an activist – to give himself up.
Mr Rayah added that "there have been protests for democracy and civil rights since February, but in the past the police fired into the air. This is the first time they have fired live rounds directly into a crowd." He could not confirm if anybody had been killed.
The biggest loser when this spreads? Why the US of course.
The US, as the main ally of Saudi Arabia, is likely to be alarmed by the spread of pro-democracy protests to the Kingdom and particularly to that part of it which contains the largest oil reserves in the world. The Saudi Shia have been angered at the crushing of the pro-democracy movement in Bahrain since March, with many protesters jailed, tortured or killed, according Western human rights organisations.
Hamza al-Hassan, an opponent of the Saudi government from Eastern Province living in Britain, predicted that protests would spread to more cities. "I am frightened when I see video film of events because most people in this region have guns brought in over the years from Iraq and Yemen and will use them [against government security men]," he said. He gave a slightly different account of the start of the riots in al-Awamiyah, saying that two elderly men had been arrested by the security forces, one of whom had a heart attack.
"Since September there has been a huge presence of Saudi security forces in al-Qatif and all other Shia centres," he said. Al-Qatif was the scene of similar protests in March, which were swiftly quashed by security forces.
We ask any of our readers who may be in the region (where unfortunately ZH is blocked), to send us video clips of any riots and any and all police intervention whether with or without use of deadly force.