It has been wrongly reported in the British press that the police used live fire to suppress a violent demonstration which erupted in the village of Al-Awamiyah in the Eastern province earlier this week. This is not true. Saudi police used rubber bullets when they were attacked by rioters.


In all 14 people, including 11 security personnel, two women and a man were injured in the disturbances.


Armed with weapons smuggled into the country, the rioters attacked a local police station with live fire. Government forces responded with rubber bullets. Eyewitness accounts and video footage clearly show a demonstrator hit by a rubber bullet and acknowledging that this is what police used.


The incident happened after a small number of demonstrators had gathered near the Al-Reef Roundabout, and started throwing rocks and attacking security forces with guns and Molotov cocktails.


The Interior Ministry blamed a “foreign country” for the unrest and has issued a statement confirming that it will not tolerate any acts that undermine the security or stability of the Kingdom. In the statement, the ministry said it would “strike with an iron fist at anyone who tries to do such acts or who has been misled to do such acts.” However there has been no order to use live fire.




PLEASE NOTE: Misinformation is being circulated to the international press. Earlier this year, The Independent newspaper published an article based on an order which they claimed was from HRH Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz, Second Vice Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior which suggested that officers and personnel were permitted to use live rounds against protestors. This order paper was a forged document and The Independent, and author of the article Robert Fisk were later forced to apologise in court after admitting that the document used as a basis for the story was a forgery.