Saudi 'Day of Rage' a fizzle?

Rick Moran
The "Day of Rage" Facebook page has 33,000 friends and there is easily enough cause to start an Egypt-style revolt against the most corrupt regime in the Middle East. There is 40% unemployment among Saudi youth and the Kingdom's immense oil wealth remains in the hands of the royal family and their cronies.

But it is likely, according to some activists, that the planned demonstration tomorrow will fizzle. The reason? The government's reputation for dealing harshly with dissent.

The Johannesburg Times:

Despite the financial handout and signs that the government may be subtly trying to win over frustrated youth, Mohammed told the German Press Agency dpa that he will not protest, because he believes the government's response will be heavy-handed.
"The government sees this as a direct threat to its rule and I will not risk everything to protest for a thing like ending corruption, for example, when they see me as a threat worthy of murder," he said.

"I think most people feel they have too much to lose in a highly rigged fight," he added.

The Interior Ministry posted on its website that "security forces are lawfully authorized to take all necessary actions against whoever tries to violate the law in any way and will be subject to the full force of the relevant regulations."

Sultan, a Saudi graduate student in the United States who also wished not to be named in full, told dpa he doubts there will be a large turnout in Friday's protests because people are expecting the government to respond "harshly."

"They already started to investigate bloggers, social and political activists, and some people who signed petitions addressed to the king," said Sultan.

Recently, Saudi women who were protesting in the eastern part of the kingdom were arrested after a ban was issued on all kinds of demonstrations.

They were reportedly beaten before they were detained.

The Shias may turn out in force in the north but Riyadh will probably be fairly quiet. Clerics have come out strongly against any protests, likening them to heresy, and government goons with guns will probably scare off those who would usually ignore the clergy.

The time is apparently not ripe for an Arab Spring in Saudi Arabia.





The "Day of Rage" Facebook page has 33,000 friends and there is easily enough cause to start an Egypt-style revolt against the most corrupt regime in the Middle East. There is 40% unemployment among Saudi youth and the Kingdom's immense oil wealth remains in the hands of the royal family and their cronies.

But it is likely, according to some activists, that the planned demonstration tomorrow will fizzle. The reason? The government's reputation for dealing harshly with dissent.

The Johannesburg Times:

Despite the financial handout and signs that the government may be subtly trying to win over frustrated youth, Mohammed told the German Press Agency dpa that he will not protest, because he believes the government's response will be heavy-handed.
"The government sees this as a direct threat to its rule and I will not risk everything to protest for a thing like ending corruption, for example, when they see me as a threat worthy of murder," he said.

"I think most people feel they have too much to lose in a highly rigged fight," he added.

The Interior Ministry posted on its website that "security forces are lawfully authorized to take all necessary actions against whoever tries to violate the law in any way and will be subject to the full force of the relevant regulations."

Sultan, a Saudi graduate student in the United States who also wished not to be named in full, told dpa he doubts there will be a large turnout in Friday's protests because people are expecting the government to respond "harshly."

"They already started to investigate bloggers, social and political activists, and some people who signed petitions addressed to the king," said Sultan.

Recently, Saudi women who were protesting in the eastern part of the kingdom were arrested after a ban was issued on all kinds of demonstrations.

They were reportedly beaten before they were detained.

The Shias may turn out in force in the north but Riyadh will probably be fairly quiet. Clerics have come out strongly against any protests, likening them to heresy, and government goons with guns will probably scare off those who would usually ignore the clergy.

The time is apparently not ripe for an Arab Spring in Saudi Arabia.