Arab uprising: Country by country - Saudi Arabia

  • Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali
    Aged 75
    Deposed after 23 years

  • Hosni Mubarak
    Aged 84
    Deposed after 29 years

  • Muammar Gaddafi
    Aged 68
    Killed after 42 years

  • Ali Abdullah Saleh
    Aged 70
    Deposed after 33 years

  • Bashar al-Assad
    Aged 48
    In power since 2000

  • King Hamad al-Khalifa
    Aged 63
    In power since 1999

  • King Abdullah Al Saud
    Aged 89
    In power since 2005

  • King Mohammed VI
    Aged 50
    In power since 1999

  • Abdelaziz Bouteflika
    Aged 76
    In power since 1999

  • King Abdullah II
    Aged 51
    In power since 1999

  • Sultan Qaboos bin Said
    Aged 73
    In power since 1970

  • Sheikh Sabah Al Sabah
    Aged 84
    In power since 2006

  • "We had a clean revolution. The former president turned out to be a coward. He just ran away. Not like the others - like the poor Libyans, or in Syria - but it lit the fuse to all the other revolutions"
    Wassim Herissi, radio DJ
  • "Our country's condition was getting worse and worse. There was corruption, torture, injustice, inequality and no freedom. Someone had to stand up and say 'enough is enough'"
    Ahmed Raafat Amin, protester
  • "It's freedom. There's no Gaddafi, unbelievable. I feel the freedom. I smell the freedom."
    Lamin el-Bijou, Banghazi resident
  • "If they are trying to scare us, they are wrong. We will continue. Let them come and burn the whole square, we will not leave."
    Protester in Change Square, Sanaa
  • "The Tunisians had already been freed. The Egyptians were on their way to be free. We thought it was our turn to be free too"
    Amer Matar, organiser of the first major protest in Syria
  • "We don't fear death any more, let the army come and kill us to show the world what kind of savages they are"
    Protester, Pearl Square, Manama
  • "I don't believe that liberal democracy will be put in place tomorrow but we have to start somewhere. Equality, the rule of law - the country is ready for this. We have to start the process"
    Dr Tawfik Alsaif, dissident campaigner
  • "They dare to voice criticism that they haven't dared to before; they dare say we want a king who does not rule, but who is a symbol. They dare to say and discuss this. Before it was not permitted"
    Mohamed El-Boukili, Moroccan Association for Human Rights
  • "One day this will be bigger than Tahrir Square - but not today. We will keep returning every week though until things begin to change and Algeria has democracy"
    Young protester at a rally
  • "We have to keep the pressure on this government. We are in the streets and we'll stay in the streets until we see all these demands working on the ground"
    Muhannad Sahafiin, protester
  • "Oman's stability was always just a cover... Oman is still a bomb waiting to explode"
    Basma al-Kiyumi, activist
  • "We have a government that doesn't listen, doesn't see and all it does is deceiving the people."
    Obeid al-Wasmi, opposition politician

What happened?

Map of Saudi Arabia

Since the Arab Spring uprisings began, relatively small numbers of Saudis have dared to take to the streets to call for reforms and for grievances to be addressed.

The government sought to discourage dissent by extending additional benefits worth around $127bn to citizens.

But in March 2011, it reaffirmed the ban on protests after several took place in the capital, Riyadh, and in Eastern Province, home to a Shia majority that complains of discrimination at the hands of the Sunni ruling family.

Since then, hundreds of people have been arrested and dozens reportedly remain in custody. Specialised Criminal Courts, set up for terrorism cases, have been used to try opposition and human rights activists on various charges including "disobeying the ruler".

Where are we now?

Despite the crackdown, demonstrations in Shia towns and villages of Eastern Province, and elsewhere by reform advocates, women's rights activists and relatives of security detainees have continued sporadically.

The security forces are alleged to have used excessive force against demonstrators. About 10 have reportedly been shot dead in Eastern Province. Officials say troops have opened fire when confronted by armed people - something denied by opposition activists.

More World stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • LollyFake flavours

    Artificial flavours are more complex than first appears. BBC Future investigates

Programmes

  • Art installationClick Watch

    How one artist is using computer code to turn internet radio into a unique piece of music

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.