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  Updated: March 18, 2011

Saudi Shi'ites call for forces withdrawal from Bahrain

By: abdulali

QATIF, Saudi Arabia: In the oil-rich mo’minin-dominated eastern region of the Saudi kingdom, hundreds of Saudi Shiites rallied late on Thursday to show solidarity with their fellow Shiites at the centre of protests in Bahrain and called for the withdrawal of Saudi forces from there, witnesses said.

"Free Bahrain! Peninsula Shield out!" chanted the demonstrators, taking up the slogans of Bahraini Shiite pro-democracy demonstrators.

According to witnesses Saudi security forces fired tear gas at demonstrators in the city of Qateef where shots also rang out. Marches were also held in the mainly Shiite Eastern Province of Tarut, Safwa and Awamiya.

On Wednesday night, similar demonstrations were held in a number of cities in the Eastern Province in protest at a violent crackdown on Shiite-led Bahraini protesters, according to witnesses.

Backed by Saudi-led Gulf forces of a joint Peninsula Shield contingent, Bahraini security forces earlier the same day smashed a month-old protest in central Manama by Shiites, leaving three protesters and two police dead.

Three people were wounded on March 11 when Saudi security men used live ammunition against Shiite protesters in Qatif. 


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