CAIRO (AP) — Police in Saudi Arabia have opened fire to break up a protest in the mainly-Shiite eastern region of the country.
A witness says at least one protester was injured.
The Saudi government is trying to prevent the wave of unrest that's been sweeping the Arab world from reaching the kingdom.
The violence today raised concerns about a crackdown ahead of more protests that are planned for tomorrow, after Friday prayers, in different Saudi cities.
Saudi Arabia's pro-Western monarchy is concerned that protests could open footholds for Shiite leaders in Iran.
It's accusing foreigners of stoking the protests.
Despite a ban on the demonstrations, and a warning that security forces would act, protesters took to the streets for a second day to demand the release of political prisoners.
<<APPHOTO HAS104 (03/10/11)>>
: Saudi Shiite protesters chant slogans during a protest in Qatif, Saudi Arabia, Thursday, March 10, 2011. Saudi police have opened fire at a rally in the kingdom's east in an apparent escalation of efforts to stop planned protests.Government officials have warned they will take strong action if activists take to the streets after increasing calls for large protests around the oil-rich kingdom to press for democratic reforms. A witness in the eastern city of Qatif says gunfire and stun grenades were fired at several hundred protesters marching in the city streets Thursday. The witness, speaking on condition of anonymity because he feared government reprisal, said police in the area opened fire. The witness saw at least one protester injured. The small white signs in Arabic read: Freedom for prisoners and loyalty to the nation."