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Flabbergasted Anchor Points Out to Commerce Secretary Why There Wasn't a 'Single Hint of a Protester' in Saudi Arabia
Natasha Bertrand, Business Insider
Bertrand writes: "The Saudi government banned all forms of protest in 2011 in the wake of the Arab Spring."
Saudi policemen stand guard in front of 'Al-rajhi Mosque' in central Riyadh. (photo: Getty Images)
ommerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC on Monday that "there was not a single hint of a protester anywhere there during the whole time" he was in Saudi Arabia with President Donald Trump over the weekend.
The CNBC anchor said that could be because protesting isn't allowed in Saudi Arabia.
"In theory, that could be true," Ross replied. "But, boy, there was certainly no sign of it."
He added: "The mood was a genuinely good mood."
Ross, who was seen napping during Trump's speech on Sunday, added that the Saudi security guards asked Trump and his aides for a photo and presented him with "two gigantic bushels of dates as a present, a thank you for the trip that we had had. That was a pretty from-the-heart, very genuine gesture, and it really touched me."
The Saudi government banned all forms of protest in 2011 in the wake of the Arab Spring.
"Regulations in the kingdom forbid categorically all sorts of demonstrations, marches, and sit-ins, as they contradict Islamic Sharia law and the values and traditions of Saudi society," a Saudi interior ministry statement said at the time.
A counterterrorism law enacted in 2014 reinforced the ban on dissent, characterizing any act that "undermines" the Saudi state or society as an act of terrorism.
Both laws were enacted under King Abdullah, who died in January 2015. But dissidents and activists continue to be jailed and publicly tortured through 2017, according to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.
Trump's speech in Riyadh on Sunday did not mention Saudi Arabia's human-rights violations, which include public floggings, coerced confessions, and death sentences for crimes such as nonviolent drug offenses. Most executions are carried out by beheading, according to Amnesty International.
"We are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship," Trump said on Sunday. He did, however, call on the region's leaders to stand up against the "oppression of women."
Of Trump's promise to not "tell other people how to live," Republican Sen. Marco Rubio told CNN on Sunday, "That would not have been a part of a speech that I would have delivered."
He added: "I think it's in our national-security interest to advocate for democracy and freedom and human rights now, with a recognition that you may not get it overnight."http://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/43718-flabbergasted-anchor-points-out-to-commerce-secretary-why-there-wasnt-a-single-hint-of-a-protester-in-saudi-arabia