Saudis begin nationwide mosque sit-in
Saudi troops stand outside al-Rajhi mosque in the capital to deter a planned day of protests, March 11, 2011.
Saudi police have surrounded several mosques across the country, including in the capital Riyadh, as activists begin a nationwide mosque sit-in.
Activists say the sit-ins were staged to demand the immediate release of thousands of political prisoners held by the regime without trial or legitimate charges.
Footage released by activists show heavy police presence in the capital and the city of Jeddah.
Saudis have named the sit-in the "Friday of Al-Ahmed" after a prominent cleric who was arrested several months ago.
They say the sit-in will continue until the Ministry of the Interior meets their demand and releases their loved ones and relatives.
Saudi activists say there are more than 30,000 political prisoners, mostly prisoners of conscience, in jails across the Kingdom.
According to the activists, most of the detained political thinkers are being held by the government without trial or legitimate charges and they were arrested for merely looking suspicious.