Two shot dead in renewed Saudi Shiite protests


Two men were shot dead as protests erupted among the Shiite minority in Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich east, the government said on Thursday, in clashes that prompted leaders from both sides to call for calm. The deaths bring the toll since Sunday to four, with at least nine other people wounded, including two policemen and one woman, said the interior ministry. Sunday’s deaths triggered clashes the following day, when demonstrators took to the streets in the mostly Shiite Qatif region of Eastern Province to protest the suspicious death of 19-year-old Nasser al-Mheishi, whose wounded body had been found near a police checkpoint in the town of Shweika.
On Thursday, the government and Shiite leaders warned against the escalating tensions. In a statement carried by SPA state news agency, the Saudi interior ministry called on leaders in Qatif to control “those who are misled to avoid innocent casualties.” In response, Shiite clerics and activists warned against the dangers of a “deteriorating situation.” Shiites in oil-rich Saudi Arabia often complain of being marginalised.