February 28, 2011
Democracy activists in Saudi Arabia say the government is closely monitoring social media to nip in the bud any protests inspired by uprisings that swept Arab countries, toppling leaders in Egypt and Tunisia.
Activists have set up Facebook pages calling for protests on March 11 and 20, with more than 17,000 supporters combined, but police managed to stifle two attempts to hold protests in the Red Sea city of Jeddah last month, highlighting the difficulties of such mobilization in the conservative kingdom.
In one case, between 30 and 50 people were detained by police when they gathered on the street, witnesses said. In the second, security forces flooded the location of a protest advertised on Facebook, scaring off protesters.