Protesters shout 'death to the Saud family' in Saudi's Eastern Province
Fresh protests have rocked Saudi’s Eastern Province with demonstrators chanting “death" to the kingdom's ruling al-Saud family, a witness told AFP.
"Death to the Saud family," protesters shouted, raising their arms in the air, according to the witness.
"Fall, fall, al-Saud", they added, in fiery denunciations that are rarely publicly expressed in the conservative kingdom.
The demonstration was organised in honour of Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr, who was executed by Riyadh last week along with 46 others. Around 1,000 protesters also marched through the Iranian capital Tehran chanting "death to al-Saud", according to an AFP photographer.
Middle East Eye on Friday revelaed shocking details about some of the executions, with witnesses saying that some of the men had their limbs ambutated before being beheaded. The sources also said that prisoners with mental issues, as well as two juveniles who were arrested for alleged crimes committed when they were 13 and 17 were, were all killed.
Since Nimr al-Nimr's death, tensions in the restive Shia majority Eastern Province have soared, with demonstrations taking place in the provincial capital of Qataif as well as Nimr’s home town of Awamiya. According to reports at least one person has been killed in a police operation and many others injured.
Demonstrations have also broken out in Bahrain and Iran where protesters set the Saudi embassy ablaze.
Pictures of the Friday protest showed what appeared to be hundreds of people, many of them clad in black, AFP reported.
They held black flags and pictures of the executed sheikh, who was a driving force behind protests that began in 2011 among the kingdom's minority Shia community. Nimr was a key protest figure before his arrest in 2012.
Those protests developed into a call for equality in the Sunni-dominated kingdom, where Shias complain of marginalisation..
Shias called Nimr a peaceful activist, and an Awamiya resident said his death could lead to more aggression on the streets.
"The situation completely changed," he told AFP after seeing protesters blockade a street with a truck on Wednesday night.
Demonstrators also burned tyres and garbage in the streets, while gunfire and explosions occurred regularly during the week, another resident of the Eastern region said of Awamiya.
"Last night was quiet compared with the beginning of the week," he told AFP Friday.
He said "activist boys" in groups of about five were behind the street unrest, which is opposed by the broader community.
A brother of Nimr also rejected the street blockades, for fear of violence.
"We don't need even one drop of blood," Jaffar al-Nimr told AFP.
But he added: "In Qatif, most of the people are angry."
The Nimr family received thousands of people who expressed their condolences over a three-day period this week, Jaffar al-Nimr said.