Saudi arrests 11 princes over economic protest

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Saudi authorities have arrested 11 princes who protested against the kingdom's austerity measures that included suspending payment of their utility bills and who could face trial, a news website close to the government reported on Saturday. They also demanded compensation for the execution of their cousin, who also belonged to the royal family, according to Sabq.

The royals, whose names were not disclosed, were sent to Saudi Arabia's largest maximum-security facility - Al-Ha'ir - located south of the capital, Riyadh Saudi news site Sabq reported on Saturday.

Eleven Saudi princes have been arrested for staging a protest at one of the king's palaces and refusing orders to leave.

Dozens of princes, officials and businessmen were detained in Saudi Arabia on corruption charges in November previous year, about 200 people questioned, and over 2,000 bank accounts frozen in the crackdown.

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The dramatic shake-up comes at a time of unprecedented social and economic transformation in ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia, as Prince Mohammed steps up his reform drive for a post-oil era.

In November, the newly minted crown prince waged an anti-corruption purge in which dozens of royals and government officials were detained, including a prominent Saudi Arabian prince and one of the kingdom's former finance ministers.

Riyadh's five-star Ritz-Carlton was converted into a luxury prison, and high-ranking detainees were held there as financial settlements were negotiated.

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