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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNGivxZqmkQ Police officer killed in security- raids on Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province Protests against the Yemen war planned in the Eastern Province were cancelled- amid fear of a security- forces crackdown One police officer and an Asian expatriate were killed on Sunday in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, as government forces clashed with locals, according to an Interior Ministry statement. Activists said at least 30 people were injured and accused authorities of launching the assault to quell calls for protests against military intervention in Yemen. The slain officer was named as Majid bin Turki al-Qahtani and the ministry statement said four "militants" had been detained in the operation to tackle "terrorism" in the Eastern Province. Residents of the oil rich but poverty stricken province told MEE “hundreds” of armoured security- vehicles stormed Awamiyah village at 330pm (1230 GMT) on Sunday. “From 4pm until 9pm the gunfire didn’t stop,” a local activist and Awamiyah resident, who asked to remain anonymous, told MEE. “Security forces shot randomly at people’s homes, arrested a lot of people, and closed- all but one of the roads leading in and out of the village.” “It is like a war here – we are under siege.” Gunfire seemingly from security forces could be heard amid shouts of “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great) – shouted out of fear by locals - in footage sent to MEE, which also included images of cars and homes on fire across the village of some 25,500 people. Some armed local residents fired at security forces, leading to running battles throughout the afternoon. While gunfire had stopped by 9pm (1800 GMT) locals reported that armoured vehicles were still scouring the village seeking more targets for arrest-. The Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia is home to the country’s Shiite minority – who make up 10 to 15 percent of the kingdom’s 29 million population. Locals say the government discriminate against them in employment- and education- among other areas, which has led to sporadic protests since 2011 that have been brutally put down by security- forces leading to tens of people being killed. Authorities have repeatedly denied accusations of discrimination and claimed they are fighting an illegal – and armed – uprising against the government. The latest round of clashes in Awamiyah on Sunday came after calls in the province for protests against Saudi Arabia’s military intervention in Yemen, where Riyadh is battling to push back Shiite Houthi rebels who have expanded their powerbase and forced the sitting president into exile. Local residents told MEE that on Friday the community were planning to hold an anti-war protest but cancelled- after receiving information that the security- forces would break it up. “The protest was cancelled because we were told to be careful and that if we rallied they [the security forces] would kill everyone,” the local said. Human rights activists warned that no dissent would be tolerated in Saudi Arabia against the military intervention in Yemen. “The war in Yemen will be used by Saudi authorities to justify a hardened crackdown at home,” said Yahya Assiri, head of the UK-based Al Qst human rights organisation. “It is very difficult for people in Saudi Arabia to criticise the war, human rights violations, or defend victims of the crackdown. Those who do risk being arrested and later exposed to maltreatment in prison.” Awamiyah residents said the province has been quiet recently and he accused the security forces of attempting to stoke the flames of conflict with locals. “Nobody in Qatif has protested against the government for a long time,” a local, who asked to remain anonymous, said. “But the government has come here to try and make a problem – to force people to react.” A local youth group has called for protests on Monday in response to the security raids. middleeasteye.net
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