Clerics Protest Outside the Royal Court

Dozens of Saudi clerics protested outside the Royal Court in Riyadh on Tuesday to show their disapproval of King Abdullah’s decision to appoint women to the Shoura Council. Reuters reports:

A Saudi activist in touch with the clerics confirmed the accuracy of photographs showing them standing in a group as they demanded a meeting with King Abdullah and his top aide Khaled al-Tuwaijri, seeking to offer them “advice.”

Tuwaijri, the Royal Court chief of staff, is believed to be King Abdullah’s right-hand man and is seen by many Saudis as a driving force behind the country’s cautious reforms.

“The clerics were in front of the royal court to address the king and Tuwaijri with regard to women in the Shoura Council … they waited for two hours but were denied access,” Waleed Abu al-Khair told Reuters by phone.

Activists on Twitter said the clerics were also protesting to urge the government to implement other reforms including the release of prisoners, ending corruption and fighting Westernization. But a video uploaded to YouTube showed one of the clerics talks specifically about new appointments in the Shoura Council:

“These recent appointments in Shoura do not represent the good people,” the cleric in the video said. “These appointments do not reflect all factions in society.”