Reports: Saudi Arabia arrests 11 protesting princes

King Salman of Saudi Arabia on Saturday ordered extra pay for Saudi government workers and soldiers after the implementation of value-added taxation. Pool photo by Olivier Douliery/UPI

Jan. 7 (UPI) — Saudi Arabia authorities have arrested 11 princes after they staged a protest for non-payment of their electricity and water bills, according to media reports in the kingdom.

Members of the royal family were demonstrating against the government’s decision to not pay their utility bills after they were ordered to leave the palace in Riyadh, the capital, according to the Okaz newspaper in a report by Bloomberg.

The princes were sent to Ha’ir prison, a maximum-security facility south of Riyadh, according to the Saudi news website Sabq in an Al Jazeera report.

In November, several princes and other former and current officials were jailed in a crackdown by the government’s new anti-corruption committee. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the 32-year-old son and top adviser of King Salman, heads a newly established anti-corruption committee. They were detained at the Ritz Carlton in Riyadh.

Also Saturday, King Salman ordered ways to help residents after the implementation of 5 percent value-added taxation and additional taxes on electricity and gasoline. The crown prince is attempting to raise non-oil revenue and improve public finances because of low oil prices worldwide.

The Saudi government will absorb the cost of the tax for citizens purchasing private healthcare and education.

Each government worker will receive a monthly bonus of $267 and military personnel serving in Yemen will get a one-time payment of $1,330. Also, retirees and social security recipients will receive $133 each month.


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