Friday Jun 10, 201112:21 PM GMT
Dozens of protesters arrested in Jeddah
Sat Jan 29, 2011 7:26AM
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People cross a bridge above a flooded street after heavy rainfall in Jeddah.
Dozens of protesters have been arrested in Saudi Arabia's second biggest city after they protested against the weaknesses of infrastructure of Jeddah.


The protests were triggered on Friday after floods swept through the city, killing at least four people, and raising fears of a repeat of the deadly 2009 deluge, in which more than 120 people lost their lives.

On Wednesday, torrential rains caused flooding that swept away cars and downed electric lines in Jeddah.

Following mass messages sent over smart phones on Friday, protesters staged a rally on a main thoroughfare in Jeddah's commercial district after Friday prayers.

“God is Great,” they shouted before Saudi security forces moved to disperse the demonstrators.

The protest came at a time when anti-government demonstrations are spreading across the Arab world.

Reuters quoted a police officer as saying that around 50 protesters were detained during the anti-government rally.

“They took them all. They were protesting. There are still some people hiding in that building over there. The police are looking for them and trying to arrest them,” another policeman said.

Reports say another protest against the government's response to the floods is scheduled to be held on Saturday.

Mobile text messages are being sent calling for a general strike next week.

“No work for the full week until they find a solution to the roads of Jeddah,” a message said. It was not known who sent the messages.

Saudi authorities asked residents to stay indoors. There is no official assessment of the damages caused by the foods.

The oil-rich kingdom lacks the basic necessary systems and structures to drain water out of the residential areas during a heavy rainfall.

DB/TG/HRF
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