Saudi Princes Arrested for Sit-in Against Having to Pay Bills

11 Saudi princes arrested for protesting utility bills at ruling palace – media

11 Saudi princes arrested for protesting utility bills at ruling palace – media

Saudi authorities have detained 11 members of the royal family who staged a rally at the palace in Riyadh to protest austerity measures forcing them to pay for their own utility bills, Saudi media reported on Saturday citing anonymous sources.

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

The princes arrested at the palace were also seeking compensation for a death sentence that was issued against one of their cousins, who had been convicted of killing another man and executed in 2016, according to Al Mojeb's statement. "Despite being informed that their demands are not lawful, the 11 princes refused to leave the area, disrupting public peace and order".

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Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has ordered an inflation allowance for citizens to ease the expected rise in the cost of living after the newly enforced Value Added Tax (VAT).

Saudi Arabia previous year rounded up dozens of royal family members, current and former senior officials in a crackdown on corruption that has also strengthened the power of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The nature of the missions assigned to al-Ajrab Sword Brigade is unclear, but activists say its members specialise in sensitive and royal-related cases.

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Officials said the arrests were part of a determined effort to root out corruption, but the unprecedented sweep also threatened to upend the kingdom's delicate and decades-old balance of power, analysts said. Most of those detained were held at the palatial Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh, which has turned into a luxury prison.

The recent arrests come amid a string of government spending cuts as Saudi Arabia, the world's largest producer of oil, pushes to diversify its economy following the 2014 drop in global oil prices.

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