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World Last Updated: Mar 11th, 2011 - 15:30:48

Day Of Rage Prelude Broken Up by Police
David Hope
Mar 11, 2011, 11:14

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Day of Rage protests in Saudi Arabia are set to continue, while police forces try to disperse growing crowds. On Friday, Saudi police fired in the air to disperse demonstrators in an eastern city, the government and witnesses said.

Thursday's confrontation in Qatif, in the oil-rich Eastern province, was a prelude to a "Day of Rage" planned after prayers Friday.

Witnesses told the BBC police also beat demonstrators with batons and at least three people were hurt.

The protesters were demanding the release of nine Shiite prisoners they say have been held without trial for more than 14 years.

An Interior Ministry spokesman said police fired over the heads of protesters, and a policeman and two others were injured.

Shiites, living mainly in the east, make up about a tenth of the population in Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia. Just offshore is the island kingdom of Bahrain, where the Shiite majority has been marching to demand reforms from another Sunni monarchy.

Saudi Arabia's King Abdallah recently announced $37 billion in new spending, including a 15 percent raise for government employees.

Source: UPI

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