A composite picture published on the Hasannews website showing the demolition of the al-Musawara neighborhood in the Shia town of Awamiyah in Saudi Arabia.
TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - According to Eastern Province’s secretariat on Tuesday, the demolition of the neighborhood has been fully completed in preparation for the commencement of removal work.
Local reports claim that some 60 bulldozers were engaged in the operations.
Since May, Riyadh has imposed a deadly crackdown on Awamiyah -- the hometown of late prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, whose execution by the Al Saud regime sparked condemnation and protests throughout the Middle East. Saudi authorities call the clampdown a “security campaign” against the gunmen there, and used it as a pretext to launch almost daily attacks against the town, destroying residential areas, setting fire to buildings, and reportedly threatening the residents to either leave or face potentially deadly swoops.
Last week, foreign journalists witnessed the destruction wrought by Saudi forces on the town after they were permitted entry for the first time. Since July 26, they said, Saudi authorities have prevented emergency services from reaching the wounded and failed to provide humanitarian assistance to trapped Awamiyah citizens.
The residents also noted that an order had never been issued for people to leave Awamiyah while their only chance out of the town had been short periods coordinated with local volunteers and activists.
Awamiyah, situated in Eastern Province, has long been a flashpoint between the Al Saud family and the inhabitants complaining of discrimination.
Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, recently said that the world body could not independently verify the reports coming out of Awamiyah, but all Riyadh’s actions should be in line with its commitments to human rights.
This is while multiple human rights groups have voiced concerns over the situation in Awamiyah, and criticized Western countries for keeping mum on Saudi Arabia’s atrocities there.
Last month, Ottawa expressed “deep concerns” over the Saudis' apparent use of Canadian military equipment in their growing crackdown against the minority Shia citizens in the restive Eastern Province.
Prominent human rights groups have on numerous occasions called on Saudi Arabia’s major arms suppliers, including the US and the UK, to stop selling Riyadh military equipment.