Clashes between pro- and anti-government inmates in a prison on the outskirts of Riyadh have killed two people.
The confrontations reportedly erupted at the al-Hayer political prison on Saturday. The severity of the ensuring violence reportedly prompted authorities to send in security forces.
On Friday, families of political prisoners held a rally to demand the release of the thousands of inmates held in the prison.
The rally turned violent when security forces tried to disperse the protesters. At least ten women were arrested.
Since February 2011, Saudi protesters have held numerous demonstrations in the Eastern Province, mainly in the Qatif region and the town of Awamiyah, calling for the release of all political prisoners, freedom of expression and assembly, and an end to widespread discrimination.
The demonstrations turned into protests against the regime of the House of Saud, especially after November 2011 when Saudi security forces killed five protesters and injured many others in the province.
The Saudi Interior Ministry issued a statement on March 5, 2011, prohibiting “all forms of demonstrations, marches or protests, and calls for them...”
In June, Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud ordered the country’s security forces to go on a state of high alert due to, what he called, a “turbulent situation” in the region.