Sunday, July 08, 2012

Al-Nimr Nabbed

Al-Jazeera reports on the latest protests in Saudi Arabia's Shi'ite majority east:
"Security forces in eastern Saudi Arabia have cracked down on a large demonstration in the eastern city of Qatif, killing two people and injuring at least 20, after a Shia leader was shot and arrested, activists said.
"Hundreds of protesters were reported to have taken to the streets on Sunday after Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent Shia cleric and anti-government activist, was chased, shot and arrested while driving earlier in the day, human rights activist Hussain al-Alk told Al Jazeera...
"The protests were the largest in the city since November and December, when at least six demonstrators were shot and killed, Alk said. He said that he believed the government was prompted by influential Sunnis to escalate its pressure on the Shia opposition."
Toby Jones talks about al-Nimr in his Saudi Arabia chapter in the recent edited volume Militancy and Political Violence in Shi'ism: Trend and Patterns.  According to Jones, al-Nimr is from the village of al-Awwamiyya north of Qatif, and believes that peaceful negotiations will never persuade the the Saudi government to grant Shi'ites true equality in the country.  More Shi'ites began following him in 2009, when hundreds of Shi'ite pilgrims were attacked by security forces near Medina.  The Arab Spring seems to have intersected with rejectionism and growing activism from that time.



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