Soldier, Protester Killed in Saudi Eastern Province
At least one protester and one soldier have been killed in Qatif, Saudi Arabia after clashes Friday night between Shia protesters and security forces turned violent. The Saudi Interior Ministry alleges that the soldiers were on patrol when “four armed rioters on motorbikes” fired on them, killing one soldier and injuring a second. The exchange also killed one protester, and authorities say the other three have been arrested. The incident brings the total number of deaths in Qatif from protests to 11 since November.
Also, there was mixed reaction to the Olympic debut of Saudi Arabia’s first female athlete. Saudi judo fighter Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani had her first and only match on Friday in which she was defeated in just over a minute. The event did not air live on Saudi state TV nor on many other Saudi owned satellite stations, but appeared on other Arab networks. While many women’s groups cheered the event as a milestone for women’s athletics in the kingdom, other commentators argued that Shahrkhani’s inclusion was disingenuous and meant ”to provide cover so Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Brunei could participate without further riling up human-rights activists.”