Saudi princes arrested for anti-austerity protest

11 Saudi princes arrested for protesting utility bills at ruling palace – media

Eleven princes of the Saudi royal family have staged a protest in one of the king's palaces in Riyadh, opposing against suspend of payment of their water and electricity bills, reported the Saudi online newspaper Sabq. The protest, which is being described as a sit-in at the Qasr al-Hokm royal palace, was in opposition to the cuts in royal benefits, but also related to the murder conviction and execution of a cousin of theirs in 2016, calling for compensation for his death. "Despite being informed that their demands are not lawful, the 11 princes refused to leave the area, disrupting public peace and order". The King also ordered 10% increase in the stipend of Saudi boy and girl students for one year. In cooperation with other security sectors, the Royal Guard provides security and protection to the king, crown prince and VIPs inside and outside the country.

Saudi Arabia a year ago rounded up dozens of royal family members, current and former senior officials in a crackdown on corruption that has also strengthened the power of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

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Officials said the arrests were part of a determined effort to root out corruption, but the unprecedented sweep also threatened to upend the kingdom's delicate and decades-old balance of power, analysts said.

The measures have been linked to rising tension within the royal Al-Saud family, which counts thousands of members-only a handful of whom wield direct influence over the kingdom.

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They were held at the five-star Ritz Hotel in the capital Riyadh while government officials negotiated financial settlements. Most working Saudis are employed by the state.

Saudi King Salman on January 6 ordered extra pay for government workers and soldiers this year.

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


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