Saudi Police Open Fire on Protesters

One injured, with bigger protests planned tomorrow
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2011 2:32 PM CST
Saudi Police Open Fire on Protesters
Saudi Shiite protesters chant slogans during a protest in Qatif, Saudi Arabia, Thursday.   (AP Photo)

Has the wave of Arab unrest finally reached closely watched Saudi Arabia? The AP reports that Saudi police opened fire at a protest in the eastern city of Qatif today. At least one man was injured, and protesters have called for a bigger "day of rage" tomorrow after Friday prayers in various cities. The Shiite protesters (several hundred, by AP's count) have staged demonstrations for two consecutive days now in Qatif, mainly demanding the release of political prisoners.

CNN talks to one analyst who downplays the potential trouble. "I don't think any protests that happen tomorrow will be destabilizing to the country," said an expert with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. But the Wall Street Journal's MarketBeat blog notes that the price of oil spiked as soon as the AP story hit the wires. "The prospect of instability striking the Saudis is something of the nightmare scenario that could drive oil above that $120 level everybody seems to be watching as the line that, if crossed, could lead to real damage to the US economy," writes Matt Phillips. (More Saudi Arabia stories.)

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