Members of Saudi Arabia’s royal family have apparently learned nothing from their cousin’s authoritarian tendencies. To wit, Saudi authorities on Saturday detained 11 princes after they gathered at a royal palace in Riyadh to protest austerity measures imposed by their cousin and the state’s de facto leader: Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, aka MbS.
Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman
As part of the latest wave of cutbacks forced by still-low oil prices, bin Salman suspended payment of royals’ utility bills. The decision triggered a backlash among the royals who weren’t prosecuted during the Crown Prince’s “corruption crackdown”/cash grab from late last year, and they swiftly assembled at the Qasr a-Hokm, a historic royal palace, to demand the cancellation of a royal decree that stopped state payment of water and electricity bills for royal family members. The move was a rare act of defiance against the Saudi crown, per Reuters. They were also demanding compensation for a death sentence issued against a relative, local media reported.
In light of recent “events” in Saudi Arabia, it was a rather poor decision.
The identities of the princes taken into custody have not been released. However, the leader of the group has been identified by the initials S.A.S.”Everybody is equal before the law and anyone who does not implement regulations and instructions will be held accountable, no matter who he is,” a local media website added.
Late last year, MbS imprisoned dozens of royals at the Riyadh Ritz Carlton until they agreed to fork over substantial chunks of their wealth in exchange for their freedom. The shakedown resulted in one former general being tortured to death after refusing to give in to MbS’s remunerative demands – the princes spoke up, and were promptly taken into custody.
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