Security forces were called in to maintain peace and order in Riyadh’s southern district of Manfouha on Saturday night after a group of men went on a rampage in anger at the Kingdom’s ongoing campaign against illegal foreign workers.
At least one local resident was reported dead of injuries from a hail of stones thrown by the rioters, who also smashed crs and shops.
Armed with knives, the rioters gathered in the district’s narrow streets early evening Saturday, threatening policemen, motorists, and pedestrians, witnesses and police said.
Anti-riot police fired guns into the air and used truncheons to disperse the large crowds, mostly foreigners who appeared to be Africans, notably Ethiopians.
According to local media reports, at least 65 were injured and taken to King Saud Medical City, Prince Salman Hospital and Al-Iman Hospital. The injured, mostly Saudis and legal residents, have suffered knife-stabbing wounds and bruises from the rioters, who were among those receiving hospital treatment.
A report by Sabq.com news site said one of the injured, a 32-year-old Saudi, died later in hospital. The man suffered a head injury from a stone thrown by the rioters.
A large security force cordoned off the central Riyadh district and closed its entry and exit points, arresting a number of the violent illegal workers and calling on the rest of them to turn themselves in, according to Brigadier General, Naser Al-Qahtani, media spokesman for Riyadh Police.
Saudi private citizens joined the police in arresting some of the rampaging illegal workers.
A shelter area has been arranged for the illegal workers on King Abdulaziz Road to speed up the process of their deportation in collaboration with other concerned government departments, Al-Qahtani said.
The acts of vandalism erupted amid strict government round-up of illegal workers across the Kingdom after the end of the amnesty period to legalize their residency and work status last week.