Saudi police opened fire Thursday in the eastern city of Qatif to disperse a protest in the mainly Shiite east. At least one man was injured in the struggle.
Also, in Riyadh the government is struggling to prevent a wave of unrest sweeping the Arab world from reaching the kingdom. Police in riot gear and special forces with batons and tear gas have gathered near shopping malls and main roads in advance of Friday’s planned ‘Day of Rage’ protests.
Saudi Arabia, a pro-Western monarchy, is concerned protests could open footholds for Iran and has accused foreigners of stoking the protests, which are officially forbidden.
Qatif is a coastal oasis region located on the western shore of the Persian Gulf in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. It extends from Ras Tanura and Jubail in the north to Dammam in the south, and from the Persian Gulf in the east to King Fahd International Airport in the west. This region includes the city of Qatif as well many smaller towns and villages.
The Qatif region is the largest concentration of Shia Islam in Saudi Arabia.