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Attempts to hold a “Day of Rage” in Saudi Arabia appears to have failed to gather enough demonstrators. Social-networking Saudi dissidents had chosen for a “Day of Rage,” has come and gone without the emergence of a mass reform movement. However, there were sporadic demonstrations in various parts of the kingdom, apparently moved by more localized demands.

 

There were demonstrations in the largely Shiite oil-rich Eastern Province on 10 March. Demonstrators in Qatif and other areas in the Eastern Province were dispersed by police, and several demonstrators were reportedly wounded.

 

Separately, more than one hundred Saudis staged a rare protest at state-run Saudi Telecom in the capital Riyadh to demand better pay and contract terms.

 

March 10–13, 2011

 

 

Analysis and Forecast: Increasing Risk


 

Although there were no mass demonstrations across Saudi Arabia, there appears to be erupting areas of unrest across the kingdom. Those are unlikely to be related, however, may have been encouraged to take to the streets by events in neighbouring states, particularly Bahrain.

 

The most serious of the demonstrations were in the Eastern Province, which neighbours Bahrain. Shiites in the Eastern Province are likely to increase their demonstrations against the regime, both demanding greater political rights as well as in solidarity with Shiites in Bahrain, where Saudi troops were called in to quell.

 

Although no mass and united reform movement has taken shape, and unlikely to take shape in the GCC largest country, it is more likely that more localized violence will erupt.