Protesters gathered outside the US Consulate in Toronto yesterday, demanding an end to oppression in Saudi Arabia and condemning the US government’s role in backing the Al-Saud monarchy.
Demonstrators echoed the demands of protesters in the eastern province of Qatif and other Saudi cities: an end to oppression, release of all prisoners of conscience, and an end to the Western support of the Saudi government.
The Saudi government propagandists attempt to view the pro-democracy movement in Saudi Arabia as a sectarian one. However, protesters made it clear that this is not the case. Many were carrying banners saying: “Sunni and Shia are brothers” and “Divide and conquer will not work.” Speakers included activists from different religious and political backgrounds echoing the same message of activists on the ground; that is, unity and solidarity. They not only protested against the brutality of the Saudi regime, but all dictatorships backed by the West and the US in specific.
More than a week ago, Saudi security forces arrested progressive anti-regime cleric Nemr Al-Nemr after an attempt to assassinate him. He is on hunger strike now, and there are reports that he has been ill-treated and shackled to a bed. According to recent reports there are more than 30,000 of prisoners of conscience in Saudi prisons. Protesters in Qatif, Al-Nemr’s homeland, protest daily and the number has increased to thousands despite the systematic oppression.