World Bulletin / News Desk
Saudi Arabia said on Monday that two men had been killed after protests in a Shi'ite Muslim area in the eastern part of the world's top oil exporter, following the arrest of a prominent Shi'ite cleric.
A key U.S. ally, Saudi Arabia has largely escaped the kind of protests that have toppled four heads of state since last year, but the mostly Shi'ite Qatif region of the Eastern Province has been the focal point of sporadic demonstrations alleging discrimination.
A statement from an Interior Ministry spokesman said the deaths followed a protest in the village of Awamiya over the arrest of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, but said there was no clash between protesters and police.
"Security authorities had been notified by a nearby medical center on the arrival of four individuals brought in by their relatives," Major General Mansour Turki, the spokesman, said in a comment sent to Reuters.
"Two of them were dead, the other two were slightly injured. Competent authorities initiated investigations in the incident."
Shi'ite activists and websites had also reported that at least two men had been killed in the protests. The Rasid website named the men as Akbar al-Shakhouri and Mohamed al-Felfel.
"In the aftermath of the arrest ... a limited number of people have assembled in the town of Awamiya," the Interior Ministry statement said. "Gun shots have been overheard in random areas of the town. However, there was no security confrontation whatsoever."
Nimr, seen as a leading cleric, was hurt in an accident as security forces chased his car, the Interior Ministry said on Sunday, adding that he was accused of "sedition".
Activists from the Eastern Province, where most of Saudi Arabia's Shi'ites live, posted pictures on the Internet of a grey-bearded man they identified as Nimr inside a vehicle.
He was covered with what appeared to be a blood-stained white blanket.
Shi'ites say they struggle to get government jobs or university places, that their neighbourhoods suffer under-investment, and that their places of worship are often closed down. The government denies charges of discrimination.
Canadian provinces at war over future delivery of oil to Pacific countries
Terrorists killed during operations in Saladin governorate
Decision follows Ecuador’s withdrawal as mediator in talks between Bogota and rebel group
The economic damage of trade war will be smaller than its perceived risk, experts say
Top court says in 5-4 decision federal statute is 'unconstitutionally vague'
'Both chlorine and sarin gas were used in the attack,' says State Department spokesperson
Move ‘is just one step in a journey that requires dedication,’ says coffee chain’s CEO
Turkish Air Force targets Zap region in northern Iraq, according to military
German foreign minister calls for reviving political talks after US-led airstrikes on Assad regime
Over $300 million worth of weapons and equipment will go to US allies in Syria if approved by Congress
The Japanese prime minister will make his second visit to Trump's ostentatious Palm Beach, Florida estate, when the focus will be on trade and security.
Still no explanation for illnesses experienced by Canadians, Americans
The ruling comes as the social network is snared in a scandal over the mishandling of 87 million users' data ahead of the 2016 US presidential election.
Fights among inmates erupted Sunday evening at the Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville, South Carolina and was brought under control at 2:55 am on Monday.
Nigeria, West Africa's largest economy, is among the countries combatting extremism with help from the United States.
Experts from the world's chemical weapons watchdog were Monday to hold emergency talks on allegations of a poison gas attack in the Syrian town of Douma.