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Saudis continue protests over top cleric’s execution

7 January 2016 13:29

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Protest rallies rage on in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, raising the specter of wider unrest in the important oil-rich region.

Since Saturday’s execution of prominent cleric Sheikh Nimr and three other Shia Muslims, hundreds or thousands of people have marched nightly in protest.

“People are angry. And they are surprised, because there were positive signals in the past months that the executions would not take place. People listen to his speeches and there’s no direct proof he was being violent,” a Qatif community leader told Reuters.

Qatif in the oil-rich province is enormously tense, where people see the executions as unjustified. Shouting “down with the Al Saud,” the marchers continue to denounce the execution.

Hundreds of anti-riot personnel carriers set off for Qatif on Saturday to quell any potential unrest. Security forces have also been alerted in other Shia-populated cities across Saudi Arabia.

The protests in the city of about one million people have been mostly peaceful. However, a fatal shooting and gun attacks on armored security vehicles have also taken place so far.

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