Since Al-Hasa and Qatif were conquered and annexed into the Emirate of Riyadh
in 1913 by Ibn Saud
, Shiites in the region had experienced state of oppression. Unlike most of Saudi Arabia, Qatif and much of the Eastern Province has a Shiite majority, and the region is also being of key importance to the Saudi government due to it both possessing the bulk of Saudi oil reserves as well as the main Saudi refinery and export terminal of Ras Tanura
, which is situated close to Qatif.
The 1979 Qatif Uprising
was a period of unprecedented civil unrest that occurred in Qatif
, Saudi Arabia
, in late November 1979. The unrest resulted in 20-24 people killed in what was described as a sectarian outburst of violence between the Shi'a minority and Sunni majority in Saudi Arabia and the beginning of the modern phase of the Qatif conflict.
After the 1979 uprising, the Saudi authorities have engaged in systematic persecution of Shi'a activists in Qatif, with an estimated 182-219 killed by 1983 (including the 1979 events).
Arab Spring protests 2011–12
The protests in Saudi Arabia
were part of the Arab Spring
that started with the 2011 Tunisian revolution. Protests started with a self-immolation
street protests in late January 2011.
Protests against anti-Shia discrimination
followed in February and early March in Qatif
, and Riyadh
A Facebook organiser of a planned 11 March "Day of Rage",
Faisal Ahmed Abdul-Ahad,
was allegedly killed by Saudi security forces
on 2 March,
with several hundred people protesting in Qatif, Hofuf and al-Amawiyah on the day itself. Khaled al-Johani
demonstrated alone in Riyadh,
was interviewed by BBC Arabic Television
, was detained in ʽUlaysha Prison
and became known online as "the only brave man in Saudi Arabia".
Many protests over human rights took place in April 2011 in front of government ministry buildings in Riyadh
and in January 2012 in Riyadh.
In 2011, Nimr al-Nimr
encouraged his supporters in nonviolent resistance
Execution controversy of Nimr al-Nimr
On 15 October 2014, al-Nimr
was sentenced to death by the Specialized Criminal Court
for "seeking 'foreign meddling' in [Saudi Arabia], 'disobeying' its rulers and taking up arms against the security forces".
Said Boumedouha of Amnesty International
stated that the death sentence was "part of a campaign by the authorities in Saudi Arabia to crush all dissent, including those defending the rights of the Kingdom's Shi'a Muslim community."
Nimr al-Nimr's brother, Mohammad al-Nimr, tweeted
information about the death sentence
and was arrested on the same day.
The head of Iran's armed forces warned Saudi Arabia that it would "pay dearly" if it carried out the execution.
In March 2015 the Saudi Arabian appellate court upheld the death sentence against al-Nimr.
On 25 October 2015, the Supreme Religious Court of Saudi Arabia rejected al-Nimr's appeal against his death sentence. During an interview for Reuters
, al-Nimr's brother claimed that the decision was a result of a hearing which occurred without the presence or notification of al-Nimr's lawyers and family. This being said, he still remained hopeful that King Salman
would grant a pardon.
However, on January 2, 2016, al-Nimr was executed
The 2017–19 Qatif unrest
is a conflict in the Qatif region (within Eastern Province
of Saudi Arabia
) between the Saudi government and the Shia militants. It began in May 2017 after an incident on 12 May when a child and a Pakistani young man were shot and killed.
In the same month, Saudi authorities erected siege barricades in Awamiyah
and attempted to bulldoze the al-Musawara residential area. The conflict became an armed conflict, with about 12–25 people killed in shelling and sniper fire during May and the following few months.
On 11 May 2019, 8 militants were killed in a firefight with Saudi security forces in the Sanabis neighborhood of Qatif.
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Last edited on 28 April 2021, at 02:18
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