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Protests Across India Against Saudi Execution of Shiite Cleric

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Protests over Saudi Arabia’s execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr have spread through Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Pakistan, Lebanon, Turkey, and now India, especially in districts with a heavy Shiite population.

The Indian Express reports large groups of protesters in the streets of Srinagar and Lucknow on Sunday, as well as demonstrations across the Budgam district of Kashmir.

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Shiite imam Maulana Kalbe Jawwad accused Saudi Arabia of “killing both Shias and Sunnis so both the communities should unite and boycott them socially.” He urged protesters to send emails to the Saudi Embassy and United Nations Human Rights Commission, and called for demonstrations across the world.

Jawad also predicted that the execution of Nimr and other prisoners would “have serious consequences and eventually bring about the end of the Saudi kingdom.”

“One Shia cleric was hanged just because he was raising voice for minorities’ rights and sheltering of terrorism by Saudi Arabia,” added Sunni cleric Maulana Hasnain Baqai.

Riot police clashed with protesters in Srinagar, where the Times of India reports tear gas was employed to disperse the demonstrators:

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The Srinagar demonstrators carried photos of Nimr and chanted “down with the al-Saud dynasty,” accusing the Saudis of being “stooges of America,” according to AFP. Some of them threw rocks at the police.

The Times of India talked to some Shiite organizations planning protests on January 7 at the Saudi embassy in Delhi, among other locations, but a mass protest formed at the embassy on Monday.

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Outlook India reports some 25 arrests in Delhi after “scores of protests gathered outside the embassy gates,” and the police deployed water cannons against them.

AFP reports there were also protests across Pakistan on Sunday, including demonstrations in Quetta, the southern Sindh province, Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi, where “about a thousand men, women, and children shouted slogans against the royal Saudi family.”

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed al-Jubeir was supposed to visit Islamabad on Sunday evening, but his visit was postponed until at least January 7.


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