Saudi reformers start Facebook group

By Agence France-Presse
Tuesday, February 8, 2011 8:39 EDT
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DUBAI – Like their Arab neighbours using the web to rally against their regimes, Saudis seeking political, social and economic reforms have created a group on Facebook that by Tuesday had nearly 2,000 members.

“The people want to reform the regime” group calls for a constitutional monarchy, transparency, legislative elections, an independent and fair judicial system, anti-corruption measures and respect for human and women rights.

Among other demands, the group stands for “the equal distribution of wealth” and “seriously addressing the problem of unemployment” in the oil-rich monarchy.

Social-networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter have played a major role in Arab anti-government movements — sparked by poverty and unemployment — that have grown into major revolts in Tunisia and Egypt.

In Tunisia, what began as a protest against unemployment turned into a nationwide revolt that led to Tunisia’s strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fleeing to Saudi Arabia after 23 years in power.

In Egypt, anti-government protests on Tuesday entered their third week.

The number of Facebook users in the Arab world has risen by 78 percent in 2010, according to a report published by the Emirati Dubai School of Government.

Gulf Cooperation Council states — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates — and Lebanon are among the site’s fastest-growing markets.

Arab users of the social-networking site jumped from nearly 12 million in January last year to around 21 million by the end of 2010, the report said.

Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah al-Sheikh warned on Friday that anti-regime uprisings, which he said triggered “bloodshed” and “stealing,” were “chaotic acts” aimed at tearing apart the Islamic world.

And Saudi King Abdullah has expressed his support for embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in a telephone call and slammed those “tampering” with the country’s security and stability.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
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  • Anonymous

    Good luck to them, I think Saudi will be a hard nut to crack but Power to the People!

  • Javaman

    This won’t end well.

  • http://www.gravitycollapse.com suzerain

    [removed because disqus went haywire and submitted comment 3x before i was done]

  • http://www.gravitycollapse.com suzerain

    [removed because disqus went haywire and submitted comment 3x before i was done]

  • http://www.gravitycollapse.com suzerain

    It’s the elephant in the room. Virtually nobody’s mentioning Saudi Arabia on TV, but it was the first thing a friend and I discussed when the shit started to go down in Egypt.

    The Saudi Royal family is about as big of an example of blatant misuse of power for their own personal gain as you can get…we’re talking, like, gold toilets, Rolls Royce limos and ridiculous private parties. I would think some people would be a bit irritated by this.

  • Anonymous

    The powers to be will loose any control to stop this, like Europe when the dismantled all the tired old Monarchs. It will spread like a wild fire to consume all these corrupt institutions and corporations.

  • Anonymous

    Can someone please tell these kids that Facebook is going to do whatever the US CIA wants it to do? It IS CIA. You will be turned in.

    Followers should be suspicious of “community organizers” that take tools from the enemy they presumably fight.

    Come on, guys. They are already taking action on the collected names from the Egypt fiasco.

    Host your own sites with mirrors and be ready to use ham radio.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QMPOO3PZFN7XV2XZKCGSXXR3WM Joe Somebody

    *sniff* smells like some Kings are going to be treated to old world style dethroning.

  • Knot

    My guess is the demonstrators will go from being pro-democracy activists to Al Qaeda terrorists as quick as you can say ‘Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’.