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Commerce Secretary Praises Lack of Protesters During Trump's Saudi Visit

Accepted submission by -- OriginalOwner_ at 2017-05-23 05:50:34 from the clueless-people-praising-authoritarianism dept.

Common Dreams reports []

Speaking to CNBC on [May 22], [Commerce Secretary Wilbur] Ross, who accompanied []Trump on the weekend trip [] to Riyadh, said [] he found it "fascinating" that he did not see "a single hint of a protester anywhere there during the whole time we were there. Not one guy with a bad placard".

[...]Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in the Center for Middle East Policy, told CNBC afterwards that Saudi Arabia is among the "most repressive" of free speech in the Middle East, adding: "Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy which forbids any political protest or any manifestation of dissent. It is also a police state that beheads opponents."

In Why Were the Saudi Streets So Quiet? [], also via Common Dreams, Medea Benjamin adds

Protest is illegal in the kingdom. It's also against the law to "distort the reputation of the kingdom" or "break allegiance with the ruler". A 2014 anti-terrorism law treats virtually all free expression as acts of terrorism, including "calling for atheist thought"; "contacting groups or individuals opposed to the Kingdom"; and "seeking to disrupt national unity" by calling for protests. People who dare dissent are publicly flogged, tortured in prison, and sometimes publicly beheaded.

Previous: U.S. President to Visit Saudi Arabia; Arms Sales Expected []

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