Foreign workers protest in Saudi detention center, 1 killed

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Saudi Arabia is on alert following deadly clashes between security forces and immigrant workers at a detention center where they are held to be deported.

Clashes started on Sunday afternoon in al-Shamisi detention center, located on the road between Mecca and Jeddah, where thousands of foreign workers, mostly from Ethiopia and Yemen.

According to reports a group of workers who entered the camp on Sunday started protesting in the camp which was followed by several people attacking to damage the facility.

One person has reportedly been killed and at least nine people were wounded in the clashes at the center.

Riyadh government started a controversial crackdown on what it called ‘illegal’ workers, expelling thousands of those who were in the country without work permits.

In December Human Rights Watch said foreign immigrants in the oil-rich kingdom were victims of violent assaults, while detained workers were being held without adequate food and shelter.

“Saudi authorities have spent months branding foreign workers as criminals in the media, and stirring up anti-migrant sentiment to justify the labor crackdown,” said Joe Stork, the Middle East director of the New York-based group.

“The Saudi government needs to rein in Saudi citizens who are attacking foreign workers,” he continued.

The kingdom, the world’s top oil exporter, has come under fire over its restrictions on foreign workers, who are tied to one employer under a sponsorship system which makes them vulnerable to exploitation.

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