Saudi Police Open Fire on ‘Seditious’ Protesters

Interior Ministry Blames Iran for Growing Unrest

Violence has once again broken out around al-Qatif on the eastern coast of Saudi Arabia, with police opening fire on pro-democracy protesters and leaving dozens of them hospitalized. An unknown number of others have been arrested.

Saudi officials, who have never been shy about shooting people in the Shi’ite dominated region, confirmed the attacks, saying they were shooting “seditious” residents of the region who had been ginned up by Iran to protest.

Protests last took place in Qatif in mid-March, when massive pro-democracy protests were taking place just off the coast in Shi’ite majority Bahrain. The Saudi military not only shot protesters in Qatif then, but invaded Bahrain to help the regime there crush their protests.

Though the protests fell out of the public space for awhile, the crackdowns only increased the amount of resentment in Qatif, and it seems that as usual, the regime is hoping that it can shoot its way out of having to offer free elections.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.