Saudi princes ‘arrested for holding anti-austerity protest’


Saudi princes 'arrested for holding anti-austerity protest'

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The protest took place in the Saudi capital Riyadh, local media reported

Saudi authorities have arrested 11 princes for holding a protest against the government's austerity measures, local media report.

The group were angered by the government's decision to stop paying the water and energy bills of royals, according to the Sabq website.

Saudi officials are yet to comment on the news.

The government is currently attempting a major economic overhaul to reduce its dependence on oil revenues.

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Public spending has been targeted, including the lifting of some government subsidies.

The kingdom has roughly doubled domestic petrol prices and introduced a 5% tax on most goods and services, including food and utility bills.

The princes, who have not been named, protested outside a royal palace in Riyadh, Sabq reported.

The website also said they wanted compensation after one of their cousins was handed the death sentence for an unspecified crime. They are now awaiting trial, Sabq added.

Another Arabic-language website, Okaz, has also carried the news.

Last year dozens of princes, as well as sitting ministers and ex-ministers, were arrested as part of an anti-corruption drive.

The Saudi royal family is thought to number thousands, but the wealth and status between them can vary wildly.

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