Published: Tue, January 09, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Saudi detains 11 princes over protest in royal palace

Saudi detains 11 princes over protest in royal palace

Eleven Saudi princes have been arrested for staging a protest at one of the king's palaces and refusing orders to leave.

Following the arrest of the Saudi princes, they were sent to a notorious maximum-security prison of Al-Haear located south of Riyadh. 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. Prince Mohammed, who sidelined his cousin as heir to the throne, has since consolidated his grip on the kingdom's economy in a meteoric rise in the royal court.

Al-Ajrab Sword Brigade is an elite force formed after Salman bin Abdulaziz became king of Saudi Arabia in January 2015.

Sabq said the guards who arrested the princes were from a unit comprising more than 5,000 members linked to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is leading a campaign of reforms that involved rounding up more than 200 senior officials, including some royal family member, suspected of corruption. The country plans to slash its generous welfare program and open energy giant Saudi Aramco to partial privatization.

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In November, the government arrested dozens of influential Saudis, including princes, cabinet ministers and business tycoons, detaining them at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Riyadh, the Saudi capital.

Previous year dozens of princes, as well as sitting ministers and ex-ministers, were arrested as part of an anti-corruption drive. Besides cutting the aforementioned benefits for members of the royal family, the austerity program has also included doubling domestic gasoline prices and levying new taxes on most goods and services.

The Saudi Royals were detained as King Salman announced SR1000 per month allowance for civilian and military staff for one year.

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