Saudi forces have carried out another raid on al-Awamiyah Village in Saudi Arabia’s Shia-populated Eastern Province.
A video, which surfaced online Thursday, shows the trail of destruction caused by the new Saudi raid. Armored vehicles are also seen firing at residential buildings and setting them ablaze.
On Wednesday, Nimr Media Network reported a similar raid, which killed a youth in the neighborhood. They also reportedly attempted but failed to destroy residential buildings in the village.
The Shia-populated Eastern Province has been the scene of peaceful demonstrations since February 2011. Protesters have been demanding reforms, freedom of expression, the release of political prisoners, and an end to economic and religious discrimination against the oil-rich region.
The protests have been met with a heavy-handed crackdown by the regime. The kingdom’s forces have ramped up security measures across the province.
In January 2016, Saudi authorities executed Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, who was an outspoken critic of the policies of the Riyadh regime.
The attack on al-Awamiyah Village comes a few days after the Saudi regime dispatched hundreds of troops into the neighboring country Bahrain ahead of the planned trial of the island’s most senior Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim.
Bahrainis have staged nationwide rallies in support of Sheikh Qassim, who has been stripped of citizenship and faces trial for charges widely denounced as politically-influenced.
Sheikh Qassim is the spiritual leader of Bahrain’s dissolved opposition bloc, the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society. He had his citizenship taken away in June last year over accusations of using his position to serve foreign interests and promote “sectarianism” and “violence.” He has denied the allegations.
Similar charges face Sheikh Hussein Mahrous and Mirza al-Dirazi, his office’s head and staffer, respectively.
Security forces have been placed on alert across Bahrain on the eve of Qassim’s court session. The trio were to be tried on May 7. But a regime court on Sunday decided to postpone the trial until May 21, reports said.
Saudi and Emirati troops were sent over to Bahrain after the revolution to assist Manama’s suppressive measures.
Qassim’s hometown of Diraz, on the island’s northwest, has been under a police blockade since the issuance of the citizenship decree against the cleric.
Bahrain has been witnessing a popular uprising against the ruling Al Khalifah regime since February 2011, with anti-regime protesters taking to the streets on an almost daily basis. The demonstrators are demanding that the Al Khalifah family relinquish power and let a just system representing all Bahrainis be established.
Scores of people have been killed and hundreds of others wounded or detained amid Manama’s crackdown on dissent and widespread discrimination against the country’s Shia majority.