More than a dozen protesters were wounded during the clashes that erupted when police opened fire to disperse a demonstration against the arrest of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.— Photo by Reuters

DUBAI: Two Shiites were killed in overnight clashes with police in the eastern Saudi province of Qatif following the arrest of a prominent Shiite cleric and government critic, activists said on Monday.

Akhbar Shakuri and Mohammed Filfel died and a dozen other protesters were wounded during the clashes that erupted when police opened fire to disperse a demonstration against the arrest of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, said the activists.

The violence occurred in Riyadh Street, the main artery of Qatif city, they said. The reports could not be independently verified.

The interior ministry described Nimr as an “instigator of sedition” as it announced that he was arrested at Al-Awamiya in Eastern Province on Sunday, after being wounded in the leg while putting up resistance.

He was transferred to hospital and was due to be interrogated, ministry spokesman Mansur Turki said, cited by the official SPA news agency.

The new deaths bring to nine the number of people killed in clashes between Saudi authorities and protesters in the Shiite-populated region.

Nimr is considered one of the main advocates of demonstrations that first took place in February 2011 after an outbreak of violence between Shiite pilgrims and religious police in the holy city of Medina.

The protests escalated after the kingdom led a force of Gulf troops into neighbouring Bahrain to help crush a month-long Shiite-led uprising against the country's Sunni monarchy.

Most of Saudi Arabia's estimated two million Shiites live in the east, where the vast majority of the OPEC kingpin's huge oil reserves lie. Saudi Shiites complain of marginalisation in the kingdom.

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Comments (15)

July 9, 2012 6:34 pm
I wonder, why the whole world is quiet on Shias killings, whether it is Iraq, Pakistan, Bahrain or Saudi Arabia.
July 9, 2012 10:36 am
They should be executed openly like what they normally claim to do.
July 9, 2012 10:29 am
Learn to live in piece Shia and Sunni must put their difference aside.
Iftikhar Husain
July 9, 2012 11:50 am
It is high time to keep aside the differences.
July 9, 2012 12:15 pm
Well said Ejaz. Having lived in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia for 6 years, I experienced these blatant human rights violations first hand. I had many many Shia friends from Qatif and the surrounding areas and the way they were treated was horrific.
July 9, 2012 9:36 am
Those persons who have killed these innocent demonstrators should be brought to justice.
July 9, 2012 5:04 pm
first of all i appreciate dawn on propagation of true news which are going on in world without any hesitation, here i will say that rights should be given to all humans without any difference.......... from any religion,sect or from any region
Ejaz Butt
July 9, 2012 2:19 pm
Thank you Ark; I am ex pat and living in the UK for the last 27 years. Though I am sunni myself but I strongly believe in humanity and put humanity on top of everything as I classify myself human first and then I am Muslim British of Pakistani/Kashmiri origin. I am very vocal about the attrocities committed against the humanity whether these crimes are committed by the US/West or by the Middle Easter regimes. I have very close eye on events shaping up in the Saudi. Though, the URDU and Western Media outlets don't reveal anything regarding the ill practices of the Saudis; I have different infomration outlets to seek information. The particular crimes are committed against foreigners of Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Veitnami, Indonesian origin by the illegal Saud regime and their forces. I am hoping that the wave of revolution travels from Tunisia and Egypt to the Saud land and sweep the illegal Governmental system of the Saud land.
July 9, 2012 3:50 pm
There is no difference in Sunnis and Shias. They have the same Allah s.w.t., same Prophet Mohammad p.b.u.h., same Quraan, same Kabah and both love Family of th Prophet.
July 9, 2012 2:10 pm
What do you mean by that?
Ejaz Butt
July 9, 2012 10:46 am
I am glad the Dawn has courage to print this news article. The Urdu news papers don't even report these sorts of crimes committed by the Saudi Forces and Monarchy. The Urdu Media unduly has a very soft corner for Saudi regime and sings undue praises of the regime. It's evident that Saudi regime is persecuting political decedents and also killing shia protestors. They have hundreds of prisoners of conscious in their prisons where they are routinely tortured. The religious police abhorrent crimes against non Saudis are never reported either by the Western and Urdu medium media outlets. The civil liberties are virtually nil in Saudi Arabia. The Wahabism is used as a tool of whipping political opponents and beheading foreigners and political opponents. The human rights are routinely violated but no one is raising any voice against this violation. Saudi regime is propped up by the West and the Western Media is always mum when it comes to Saudi regimes crimes against its own public.
Engr Ali beserya
July 9, 2012 10:42 am
The sectarian conflict is the main cause of MUSLIMS failures in modern world...... united we can grow stronger
July 11, 2012 5:43 pm
Bravo dawn for publishing!
Adil Siddiqi
July 9, 2012 4:16 pm
It is not a Shia or Sunni or deobandi conflict, the way main stream media trying to show it and brutal regime trying to hide behind it. Injustice and brutality should be condemned regardless of faith or regional differences. Thanks Dawn for reporting it.
Ali Abbas
July 31, 2012 9:31 pm
Protest is not allowed in Saudi regions. All know it. Then why shia protest? There is a Law in Saudi Arabia, Shia or anyone should follow the Law of the Government. Sorry to everyone but Shia and Sunni are different groups of Islam. They preach Allah but in different timings, One follow sahaba but other one decline and do not respect them.
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