Qatif has been regarded as a strategic outpost for the Saudi kingdom.
The city is waystation for the export of nearly six million barrels of oil
The crackdown took place hours before the opposition staged the
so-called "Day or Rage" in Saudi Arabia on March 11. The day was organized
by reform movements within the Sunni majority in Jedda and Riyad, Middle East Newsline reported.
"No demonstrations have taken place in any part of the kingdom on Friday
[March 11]," Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour Al Turki said.
Several hundred Shi'ite demonstrators were reported in Qatif on March
11. Police were said to have prevented several protests in Riyad.
The sources said the Gulf Cooperation Council kingdom has bolstered
security in an attempt to quell unrest. They said the Saudi National Guard
has deployed 15,000 troops in the Eastern Province.
For his part, the king has been meeting Shi'ite clerics from Qatif. The
clerics were said to have disassociated themselves from Shi'ite dissidents,
particularly those abroad, such as Mohammed Al Dosari.
"Islam strictly prohibits protests in the kingdom because the ruler here
rules by God's will," Saudi Grand Mufti Sheik Abdul Aziz Bin Abdullah Al