Saudi activists push for political reform
Democracy activists in Saudi Arabia say the government is closely monitoring social media to nip in the bud any protests inspired by uprisings that swept Arab countries, toppling leaders in Egypt and Tunisia.
Activists have set up Facebook pages calling for protests on March 11 and 20, with more than 17,000 supporters combined, but police managed to stifle two attempts to hold protests in the Red Sea city of Jeddah last month, highlighting the difficulties of such mobilization in the conservative kingdom.
In one case, between 30 and 50 people were detained by police when they gathered on the street, witnesses said. In the second, security forces flooded the location of a protest advertised on Facebook, scaring off protesters.
“They are watching closely what people are saying on Facebook and Twitter,” said Saudi blogger Ahmed al-Omran. “Obviously they are anxious as they are surrounded with unrest and want to make sure we don’t catch the bug.” (Reuters)
Protests at Bahrain’s parliament
Bahrainis campaigning for democratic reforms in the Gulf Arab state staged a protest outside parliament, demanding that all its members resign over recent protester deaths.
“We came to this parliament to say that you represent the people and you represent us – take an honourable position over the killings by the army,” said Mirza al-Shihabi, one of around 500 protesters outside the building in central Manama on Monday. (Al Jazeera)
Looting reported amid Oman protests
Residents in the northeastern Omani city of Sohar have reportedly looted a supermarket damaged in protests, as demonstrations over economic woes carried on into a third day.
Security forces sealed off main roads to the city on Monday and hundreds of protesters reportedly stormed a police station, while protests spread throughout the city.
Sohar, a city about 200km northwest of the capital of Muscat, was the scene of protests over the weekend, as demonstrators demanded higher salaries, jobs for the unemployed and the removal of some government ministers. (Al Jazeera)
Another Tunisia minister quits
Mohamed Afif Chelbi, Tunisia’s industry and technology minister, has resigned from the government, the official TAP news agency has reported.
Chelbi, who resigned on Monday, was one of only two remaining ministers who had previously served in the cabinet under ousted President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.
His departure leaves Mohamed Nouri Jouini, the minister for international co-operation, as the only survivor in the cabinet from the Ben Ali era. (Al Jazeera)
Amazing how long the power owners think that they are immune to the uprisings. There comes a point in the peoples life’s, when they have been suppressed for such long periods of time, unemployed, exploited, that they have nothing to lose but their breath. If anything has been learned here during these past weeks, it’s that the majority of peoples are fed up with the treatment they receive from the plutocracy that rules their country. Slavery for the sake of keeping the various citizen populations down, has finely been brought to a head, of which some of the rulers have been toppled. That more will follow, is a given. Some may stall their downfall, but they will have to give up much of what they enjoy today. That some have resorted to fear, bullets, they still fall.
What is interesting here, is the age group that is leading these revolts, the youth and educated. The older members are emboldened to join too, because the youth have energy, which spills over to everyone, like a virus. The reactions of the rulers has been what always worked in the past, suppression. That the people are willing to put their life on the line, perhaps for the first time, is unknown territory. Just getting by, while the rulers live in splendor, party like there’s no tomorrow, all the while the majority suffer indignities of going without. Getting an education for most of the youth hasn’t born out the fruits promised. The percentage of youth unemployed, what do they have to lose?
I’m reminded of something I read in my youth; “If you line up everyone, take their clothes off so they are naked, then what you have are all the same, just size, shape, color, all humans”.