On Wednesday, demonstrators took to the streets in the Eastern Province’s towns of Qatif and Saihat as well as Tarut Island, demanding the release of imprisoned rights activists.
According to activists, there are over 30,000 political prisoners in Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, Shia dignitaries in Qatif denounced the use of violence by Saudi authorities to quell peaceful protests in the Shia-dominated eastern part of the country.
A statement signed by 41 people, censured Riyadh’s use of the ‘language of arms against peaceful demonstrations’ and called for a ’serious investigation’ into the violence as well as ‘liberation of political prisoners.’
A Saudi Interior Ministry official referred on Monday to recent protests in the Eastern Province as ‘new terrorism’ and said that authorities would "confront it the same way" they treated al-Qaeda.
Since February 2011, Saudi protesters have been holding demonstrations on an almost regular basis in the oil-rich province, mainly in Qatif and the town of Awamiyah, calling for the release of all political prisoners, realization of freedom of expression and assembly, and an end to widespread economic and religious discrimination in the kingdom.
Anti-government protests have intensified since November 2011 when security forces opened fire on protesters in Qatif, killing five people and injuring scores of others.