Hundreds back Facebook call for Saudi protest

Wed Feb 23, 2011 9:28am GMT
 

* Demands for ruler and shura council to be elected * Campaign seeks minimum wage, more rights for women

* Not clear whether protests will materialise

DUBAI, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Hundreds of people have backed a Facebook campaign calling for a "day of rage" across Saudi Arabia next month to demand an elected ruler, greater freedom for women and release of political prisoners.

The page called for a "revolution of yearning" on March 11 in the kingdom, the world's biggest oil exporter and which is ruled by an absolute monarchy.

More than 460 people had endorsed the page by Wednesday morning, but it was impossible to verify how many of them were inside Saudi Arabia or whether any protest would materialise.

Arab uprisings which overthrew leaders in Tunisia and Egypt were mobilised by youths using social media, but activists in Saudi Arabia say a recent Internet call for a demonstration in Riyadh failed to bring anyone onto the streets.

A protest last month in Jeddah after floods swept through Saudi Arabia's second-biggest city was quickly broken up.

The demands included "that the ruler and members of the Shura (Consultative) Council be elected by the people" as well as calls for an independent judiciary, release of political prisoners and the right of freedom of expression and assembly.   Continued...

 
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