The kingdom has announced it is cutting off all internet services for Saudi Arabia’s people as it continues a crackdown on dissent.
Key points:Saudi Arabia says its ruling elite has been “unable to control the chaos” in the kingdomIt says it will replace all existing TV, radio and internet services with satellite services and virtual private networks (VPNs) as it seeks to “control the chaos in the country”The government has also said it will increase fines for non-compliance with social and economic policies.
The announcement came on Wednesday in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, where officials have announced a “zero tolerance” policy for dissent in the oil-rich country.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the nation’s leading state, will not tolerate any form of disobedience, and will stop any and all forms of interference in its internal affairs,” the government said in a statement.
“Any interference or attempt to influence the internal affairs of the Kingdom is strictly forbidden.”
The country’s top clerical body, the Saudi-appointed Council of Senior Scholars, has said the “resistance will be punished”.
“The Council of the Senior Scholars declares that the authorities will not allow the slightest form of social or political resistance to be tolerated in the Kingdom,” the council said in an official statement.
The ruling Saudi clerics have imposed a strict interpretation of Islamic law, which has seen thousands of Saudis jailed and their homes raided.
It also prohibits people from speaking out in favour of reforms.
Saudi Arabia has a population of nearly 7 million, most of whom live in the sprawling desert region of the Red Sea.