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Saudi forces seal off eastern Shia town: Human Rights Watch

 Agencies |  2017-08-13 16:34:38.0

Saudi forces seal off eastern Shia town: Human Rights Watch

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia's security forces have sealed off a Shia-majority town in the east of the Sunni-ruled kingdom, Human Rights Watch said Sunday, following months of unrest and clashes with police.

Saudi authorities last week said they seized control of a district of Awamiya, a town in the eastern Qatif region where protests have escalated into clashes with security forces in recent months. HRW on Sunday said Saudi security forces had completely "surrounded and sealed off" Awamiya.
The New York-based group said that, based on comparative satellite imagery from February and August, large sections of the town had sustained extensive damage, including to civilian infrastructure.
"Saudi authorities should take immediate steps to allow people to safely return home, allow business and clinics to reopen, and compensate residents for property damage and destruction caused by security forces," HRW's Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson said.
Saudi authorities have blamed "terrorists" and drug traffickers for the recent unrest in Awamiya, where clashes between protestors and security forces since May have left civilians and police dead.

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