Saudi embassy in Tehran set on fire and trashed by angry protesters in Iran following Nimr al-Nimr’s execution
A furious mob of Iranian protesters petrol bombed Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Tehran late last night after the kingdom executed 47 prisoners, including a top Shiite cleric, sparking fears of sectarian violence.
Enraged demonstrators stormed and set fire to the embassy after Saudi Arabia – which has a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council – caused outrage across the Middle East and around the world with the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard promised ‘harsh revenge’ against the Saudis and former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki warned that the executions would ‘topple the Saudi regime’. Shiite leaders in Iran, Iraq and Lebanon fiercely condemned the killings.
Meanwhile US and European officials criticized Saudi Arabia for the executions which risk ‘exacerbating sectarian tensions’.
al-Nimr was a driving force behind the protests that broke out in 2011 in the east of Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia, where the Shiite minority complains of marginalisation. He was condemned as a terrorist by Saudi Arabia and executed alongside 47 other people convicted of ‘terrorism’ yesterday.
None of the Saudi embassy staff were inside the building in Tehran as protesters broke in and trashed the offices. Photographs showed demonstrators damaging embassy property, including removing the national flag from the building. Iranian police have arrested a number of demonstrators.
Widespread demonstrations erupted in support for al-Nimr, with Shia Muslims from London to India condemning Saudi Arabia for executing the cleric.
Hundreds of Shi’ite Muslims marched through the Qatif district of Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province in protest, which was closely watched by security forces with tensions also mounting on the streets of neighbouring Bahrain.
The Qatif protesters chanted ‘down with the Al Saud’, the name of the ruling Saudi royal family, leading to call in of dozens of Saudi military reinforcements being called into Qatif. Images have emerged on social media of a bus burning, reportedly in Qatif as the protests escalated last night.
Protesters in Bahrain were met with tear gas as they clashed with security forces in the suburbs while hundreds demonstrated in Iraq’s Shiite holy city of Karbala. In London, dozens of protesters gathered outside the Saudi embassy to express their anger about the executions.
Amnesty International UK’s Shane Enright said the death penalty was ‘unacceptable in all circumstances’ and it was particularly concerning that a number of ‘peaceful dissidents’ had been killed, including sheikh al-Nimr. source