At least 30 protesters were wounded today as Saudi Arabian forces attacked antiwar protesters in the Eastern Province. The demonstrators were marching against the Saudi war in Yemen.
Locals reported gunfire for 5 hours in the late afternoon and early evening, with claims that the troops were firing indiscriminately in the area, killing a bystander, and had sealed off a village from which many of the marchers came.
Dozens were reported arrested according to witnesses, though the Saudis claimed only four, who they identified as “militants,” were arrested in the attack. They also claimed a police officer was killed in fighting.
The rise of antiwar sentiment is a potential huge problem for the Saudi war, as the government has made the Yemen conflict explicitly sectarian in nature. Saudi Arabia’s own Shi’ite minority predominantly lives in the Eastern Province, which is also the heart of their oil-producing region.
Saudi officials are betting they can win the Yemen war before the unrest does too much damage domestically, but this is a dangerous game, particularly with the goal of reinstalling a former president elected in a “one candidate election” not being endorsed by much of anybody inside Yemen.