Saudi Arabia execution: How the world erupted in protest

Protests sparked worldwide in the 24 hours after Saudi Arabia announced it had executed 47 people, including the prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.

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The Independent Online

On Saturday, Saudi Arabia announced it had executed 47 people in one day for terrorism offences, including the prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.

Most of those executed were Sunnis who were convicted of involvement in the deadly 2003 and 2004 al-Qaeda attacks.

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, described Nimr al-Nimr’s execution as a “political error”.

"The unjustly spilled blood of this oppressed martyr will no doubt soon show its effect and divine vengeance will befall Saudi politicians”.

"This oppressed cleric did not encourage people to join an armed movement, nor did he engage in secret plotting, and he only voiced public criticism ... based on religious fervour."

The announcement by the kingdom sparked protests around the world in the following 24 hours.

Sitra, Bahrain – Saturday 2 January, 5.40pm

Violent clashes took place between protesters and riot police as masses took to the streets of Sitra to denounce al-Nimr’s execution.

Tehran, Iran - Saturday 2 January, 9pm GMT

40 people were arrested after huge crowds stormed the Saudi Arabian embassy in Tehran, before throwing Molotov cocktails at the building.

Baghdad, Iraq – Sunday 3 January, 1am GMT

Smoke bellowed from the Saudi Arabian embassy in Baghdad after a rocket was reportedly fired at the building in reaction to the execution of al-Nimr.

Kashmir, India – Sunday 3 January, 11am GMT

Protesters clashed with police in Srinagar, the largest city in Kashmir, as thousands condemned the Saudi government.

Islamabad, Pakistan – Sunday 3 January, 11.30am GMT

Hundreds of protesters marched through Islamabad to decry the execution of al-Nimr.

London, England – Sunday 3 January, 3pm GMT

For a second day in a row, hundreds rallied outside the Saudi embassy in London.

New York, United States – Sunday 3 January, 10pm GMT

Hundreds gathered outside the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle, New York City to criticise the Saudi government’s actions.

Demonstrations have continued into Monday as Saudi Arabia cut ties with Iran increasing fears that sectarian violence may spread in the area.