Saudi forces burn cars, houses during operation to arrest rights activist

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Saudi security forces have burnt a number of cars and houses in the eastern city of Awamiya during an operation to arrest an anti-government human rights activist.

According to a video posted online, the incident took place as Saudi security forces stormed the house of human rights activist Abbas Ali Mohammed Al-Mazra on Monday.

One person is reported to be injured by the security forces.

Abbas al-Mazra is one of the 23 Saudi activists wanted by the kingdom’s Interior Ministry for organizing anti-government demonstrations in the eastern cities of Awamiya and Qatif. Some of the activists on the list have already been arrested.

It was not clear whether Mazra was arrested in the operation.

Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province has been witnessing anti-government demonstrations since February 2011. Protesters demand political reforms, greater liberties, freedom of expression and the release of political prisoners some held without trial for more than 16 years.

They have also condemned economic and religious discrimination in the oil-rich region and their government’s involvement in a brutal crackdown on protesters in neighboring Bahrain.

In Saudi Arabia, protests and political gatherings of any kind are prohibited. Activists say there are over 30,000 political prisoners in the country.

 

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