Saudi Arabia: 11 Princes protest against austerity measures, detained

Marsha Scott
January 9, 2018

Saudi authorities have arrested 11 princes for holding a protest at a royal palace in the capital Riyadh.

The protest by royals embarked after a decree by King Salman bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud to stop state funding of water and electricity bills for members of the royal family.

Following the arrest of the Saudi princes, they were sent to a notorious maximum-security prison of Al-Haear located south of Riyadh. "Despite being informed that their demands are not lawful, the 11 princes refused to leave the area, disrupting public peace and order".

"No one is above the law in Saudi Arabia, everyone is equal and is treated the same as others", Saudi Attorney General Sheikh Saud Al Mojeb said.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman on Saturday declared a monthly payment of 1000 riyals ($267) to his countrymen in order to lessen the impact of rising cost of living after the sudden increase in domestic gas prices and introduced Value-Added Tax. Prince Mohammed, who sidelined his cousin as heir to the throne, has since consolidated his grip on the kingdom's economy in a meteoric rise in the royal court.

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They also claimed compensation for a death sentence against a family member. The country plans to slash its generous welfare program and open energy giant Saudi Aramco to partial privatization.

Previous year dozens of princes, as well as sitting ministers and ex-ministers, were arrested as part of an anti-corruption drive.

The cuts continue and the subsidies for members of the royal family were reduced. Some have since reached settlements with the government. Income remains tax exempt. Most working Saudis are employed by the state.

King Salman ordered the payment of a monthly cost of living allowance of SR1,000 for the entire government staff and military personnel for a period of one year.

The government information service, the Centre for International Communication, said it was checking the report.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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