Saudi security forces 'fire on protesters'

Reports of one person dead and several wounded as police use live rounds to break up demonstration in Eastern Province.

     

    Saudi Arabian security forces are reported to have opened fire on protesters near the Eastern Province city of Qatif, killing one person and wounding several others.

    Ali al-Felfel died after being shot in the chest during demonstrations on Monday night, the AFP news agency reported on Tuesday, quoting medical officials.

    The demonstrators had taken to the streets in the town of Shwika on Monday to protest over the death of a 19-year-old Shia man, Nasser al-Mheishi, who died of wounds sustained near a police checkpoint on Sunday night in unclear circumstances.

    Protesters have accused police of killing Mheishi. A police spokesman in the Eastern Province declined to comment on the events.

    "The police told us that gunmen had opened fire on the police checkpoint... and that my son was caught in the crossfire between the police and the armed men, and was struck by four bullets," Ali al-Mheishi, the man's father, told the AFP news agency.

    A witness later said that one of the policemen at the checkpoint shot Mheishi dead, his father added.

    According to locals, the death is the second in the past few days. Qatif residents said another young man was shot by security forces in the Shia town of Awamiya.

    In October,14 people, including 11 policemen, were wounded during clashes in Awamiya between security forces and demonstrators. At the time, the interior ministry in the Sunni-ruled kingdom blamed "outlaws" for the violence.

    The overwhelming majority of the estimated two million Saudi Shia live in Eastern Province, which neighbours Bahrain where authorities, supported by Saudi-led Gulf troops, earlier this year crushed a Shia-led protest.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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